So after all the excitement of the season so far we return to France.
This race was cancelled last year because it was just too boring for modern F1 cars. But it’s back once again for one more chance.
Some people might grumble about it but whenever this happens I always feel a rather similar feeling to a cricket fan hearing “you mean a game can go on for five days and be a draw” I have a sense of “yes that’s the point” to races like France.
France doesn’t have much of a funnel of the start so the cars don’t tend to bunch up as much as they do in other circuits. So often the start isn’t that close. Having said that Kimi took Lewis off the line last year.
That won’t be happening this year as Lewis (and Rosberg) will be facing 10 place grid penalties. So Ferrari will be looking to repeat their first and second places from last year. I guess you’ll have to decide which one of them is likely to win. Kimi did it last year (Massa was on pole). Kimi has said he’s never been so fired up to win a grand prix as he is this week. Massa is wisely keeping his new found cool which has served him so well recently.
So what of world championship leader Robert Kubica? Well obviously we shouldn’t count him out. One of the interesting things about France is that it has a pretty short pit lane. This means that a three stopper makes sense. The only problem is that BMW seem to be suffering the same problem that plauged McLaren for many years, they don’t seem to often deviate from the optimum strategy the computer tells you. Ross Brawn taught McLaren, the hard way, that mixing the steategy up can often work well.
McLaren have learnt their lesson well as we’ve seen this season already a few times. Most people will be full of fuel near Lewis perhaps going light might work for him. The only problem is he’d have to overtake. It’s not impossible at Magny Cours but it is tough.
Perhaps he will remember the manouver demonstrated by his erstwhile team mate Alonso last year here. Alonso pulled off the overtake of the season going through the chicane. Martin Brundle said he had to hide behind a cushion each time he saw it. It was mega. Expect Alonso to be certainly be pulling a few of those this weekend.
Actually because of the penalty Alonso and Lewis will probably meet on the track again this weekend. Last time out Lewis crashed into him.
Alonso has been giving some fighting talk in the run up to this weekend. He said Lewis was lucky last year rather than skillful. Which is a bit below the belt.
Anyway. France it should be fun in it’s own way. It might well be a return to slightly less chaotic races. Which might make it easier to predict (which might be good news for all of us except fourstar).
So as usual we’d love your pole prediction and your top eight for the race.
The qualifying and the race are at 1pm on Saturday and Sunday. (The tv program starts at 12:10 on the Saturday and 12:00 on the Sunday)