Round seven of the 2021 season is finally here, with teams and drivers taking to the Circuit Paul Ricard on Friday, June 18 for Free Practice ahead of the French Grand Prix.
The Circuit Paul Ricard is yet another venue that was affected by Covid-19 in 2020, and so, it’s been nearly two years since F1 took to the French track.
Following Round six in Azerbaijan, Red Bull remains in the lead of the Constructor’s Standings with 174 points, while their Dutch driver Max Verstappen has also held onto his position atop the Driver’s Standings with 105.
Coming in close behind are current world champions, Mercedes, who are 26 points off the top spot in the Constructor’s Standings after a disastrous result in Baku, while Lewis Hamilton is still just four points behind Verstappen heading into Round seven.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the French Grand Prix, with proceedings kicking off on June 18:
The Circuit Paul Ricard first hosted an F1 race back in 1971 and features 15 corners and two DRS zone.
It is the seventh track to have hosted a French Grand Prix and has hosted the second-most French GPs in F1 history, with 16, behind Magny-Cours on 18.
Sunday’s race will mark its return to the F1 calendar after COVID-19 saw the 2020 French Grand Prix cancelled, and will take place over 53 laps of the 5.842km track.
It will run across 309.690 km from lights out to chequered flag, with top speeds of 300km/hr expected.
Most of the track has been resurfaced for F1’s return in 2021, too, and many of the corners have been very subtly reprofiled, but the layout of the circuit remains the same.
In the track’s history, the McLaren team has been the most successful outfit here with 3 wins under their belt – while Alain Prost remains the most successful driver at this circuit with 4 wins.
There is only one repeat winner on the grid this weekend in Lewis Hamilton (2018/19) and he will be looking to claw back the points this weekend after two consecutive disappointments in Monaco and Azerbaijan.
Forecasts for the weekend at the Circuit Paul Ricard are set to remain clear from Friday through to Sunday.
Friday’s probability of rain is a minor 6% with temperatures of 25C.
Saturday will likely remain dry as well with temperatures hitting 27C and a 16% chance of rain.
Current predictions show another scorcher on race day with highs of 24C and chances of rain at 0%.
When/ Where to Watch
Free practice 1 will take place on Friday, June 18 at 10:30 am Irish time, with FP2 kicking off just hours later at 2:00 pm.
FP3 begins on Saturday, June 19, at 11:00 am GMT and will be followed by Qualifying at 2:00 pm.
For the big day on Sunday, coverage will be on Sky and NOW with lights out at 2:00 pm.
You can catch live coverage of the entire 2021 season, every weekend on Sky Sports F1, or grab a NOW sports package.