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French GP: Can Sebastian Vettel overcome the disappointment of Canada?

Formula One heads into France still fresh from the aftermath of Canada’s drama, which saw Vettel lose the lead to Lewis Hamilton due to a five second penalty.

The race’s latter stage looked set to feature a great battle between the champions for victory, to then be taken away by a penalty handed to the Ferrari driver because of an “unsafe entry” onto track, after his mistake at turn three/four.

Thus ensuring Hamilton claimed his fifth win of the season, extending his championship lead to 29 points, in which France will be a key weekend to see if Ferrari can repeat such competitiveness and return to their speed of old.

“We expect another tough fight in France. The circuit features some similarities to Montreal and the long straights will present a challenge for us.

“However, unlike Canada, the corner characteristics are spread across a range of speeds, which should play to our advantage. We’re looking forward to the change to put a few things right again” Toto Wolff said.

Although Mercedes continued their unbeaten record this season in Montreal, it was a weekend where Ferrari returned to its competitive state and proved that they can still challenge for race victories.

Ferrari will meet Formula One officials in France to appeal the penalty in an attempt to overturn the decision, as Lewis Hamilton seemingly tightens his grip on a sixth World Championship as each race passes by.

Although, it is his team-mate Valtteri Bottas, that poses the biggest threat in Hamilton’s bid to do so.

Following a tremendous start to the season, it was as though the Fin returned to the Bottas of old in 2018, coming home in fourth place posing no threat to the front runners.

With his first non-podium finish in 2019, France proves to be a huge weekend for Bottas psychologically, as he must start cutting this deficit to Hamilton if he is to provide a stern challenge throughout the season.

Yet, Hamilton is in the form of his life, whom is yet to finish below P2 in 2019 making him undoubtably the favourite in France, in his bid to win back-to-back around Circuit Paul Ricard.

Any chance of a Red Bull podium?

Red Bull will arrive in France with their second engine upgrade of the season.

Despite just four races after the last upgrade, spec 3 focuses on an improved performance to the car with increased power, whereas spec 2 was introduced for reliability.

With such upgrade in place, Red Bull will be determined to overcome a below-par race in Canada and return to its usual competitive state.

Max Verstappen finished in P5, whereas Pierre Gasly finished in P8, but hopes will be with Verstappen if they are to finish on the podium.

P2 at the same track in 2018 for the Dutchman gives them reason to hope for a repeat of the same, but the collision between Vettel and Bottas on lap 1, aided his race massively.

Whilst the upgrade shouldn’t put Red Bull on par with Ferrari and Mercedes in terms of power, a podium finish for Verstappen in France is not too much of a longshot but will require something special from the Dutchman to challenge for victory.

Meanwhile, Gasly still adjusts to life in his new team as further time is required before he starts competing with drivers at the top, including his team-mate.

Toro Rosso, too, arrive with an upgrade to their Honda engine but only Daniil Kvyat will receive spec 3 in France which arrives with a cost.

The Russian will be handed a grid penalty for exceeding the permitted usage of engine parts this season. Therefore his team-mate, Alexander Albon, is required to wait for the upgrade to avoid both drivers receiving grid penalties this weekend.

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