On of the eve of the French Grand Prix, we take a look at the performances of the French drivers so far this season.
CHARLES LECLERC (Ferrari)
Results in 2019: 5-3-5-5-5-Ret-3
Head-to-head in 2019: Vettel 5, Leclerc 1
It was always going to be a tough challenge for Leclerc to come into the balmy parameters of Ferrari and spark into life straight away.
Sebastian Vettel is the clear number one driver and looking to battle against his priority status is only going to end one way.
In the 2019 season so far, Leclerc has been out-qualified five times by Vettel and has only finished ahead of the German once – in Bahrain.
However, for as disappointing as those statistics may sound, he should really have tasted victory in Bahrain, only to be struck down by reliability issues when leading late on. Still, a first podium on his third competitive drive for the Italian marque was an extremely positive result.
Morale did increase and he finished fifth on three-successive occasions in China, Baku and Spain. In Baku, he was fastest all weekend but a mistake during Q2 forced him to start from eighth. With the narrow turns in the Azerbaijan capital, the 21-year-old could only manage fifth on race day.
A retirement in front of his home fans in Monaco was disappointing last month, but he responded two weeks later to clinch a second podium of the season in Canada.
A positive result in France this weekend should continue an otherwise decent first season at Ferrari. And don’t forget, it’s only his second season in F1.
PIERRE GASLY (Red Bull)
Results in 2019: 11-8-6-Ret-6-5-8
Head-to-head in 2019: Verstappen 7, Gasly 0
After a strong year with Toro Rosso last campaign, the 23-year-old was deservedly promoted to a Red Bull seat.
Like Leclerc, it was always going to take time to perform in a new machine and get comfortable in a new team environment. But since stepping into the car in March, he has struggled against team-mate Max Verstappen.
The Dutchman has outperformed Gasly in all seven races this campaign, and has been on top in qualifying on six occasions. A startling difference.
Underwhelming performances in Australia (17th) and Bahrain (13th) converted into disappointing results (11th and eighth respectively), with many suggesting the Rouen native could be replaced by the end of the season.
He did improve, finishing sixth in China and Spain and fifth in Monaco. And he could have even finished sixth in Baku but a late driveshaft issue forced him to retire.
At the recent Canadian Grand Prix, he struggled around the track at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, qualifying a career-high fifth, but ended up crossing the line in a disastrous eighth place on race day. To put that into context, Verstappen started four places behind him in ninth and still finished ahead of him in fifth.
With Toro Rosso rising star Alexander Albon breathing down his neck, Gasly’s home race is a perfect opportunity for a formidable result if he wants to retain his seat at Milton Keynes next season.
ROMAIN GROSJEAN (Haas)
Results in 2019: Ret-Ret-11-Ret-10-10-14
Head-to-head in 2019: Grosjean 3, Magnussen 4
Grosjean has had a mixed season to date, performing well at times in qualifying but only recording two points in seven races for the American outfit.
However, three retirements in the first four races for the Swiss resident has also highlighted the other aspect of his campaign – bad luck.
Overall, it’s been a more improved than this point last season. He scored back-to-back points finishes in Spain and Monaco, but has been outperformed in four of the seven races by team-mate Kevin Magnussen, with the Dane capturing season-highs of sixth and seventh respectively in Australia and Spain.
Last year was the comeback of the French Grand Prix after a 10-year absence, but the race ended badly for Grosjean, who screwed up his qualifying and then collected a penalty on race day, finishing 11th.
The 33-year-old’s best days may well be behind him, but he owes his home fans a strong showing this weekend.
Know more about Sport360 Application