By News Team
Last Updated: 23rd June 2018
Sunday 24th June
Circuit Paul Ricard
Sky Sports F1
French Grand Prix 2018 – the title race so far
A third of the way through the season, everything’s set up for an absorbing Drivers’ Championship battle.
Sebastian Vettel assumed an early lead by winning the first two races, yet conceded it to Lewis Hamilton – champion in three of the last four years – with three successive non-podiums.
Then, just as Mercedes threatened to pull away for the fifth straight season, Vettel rallied by outperforming both their drivers in Monaco and Canada to reprise a one-point advantage.
The German is 6/4 to achieve his first title in five years and Ferrari’s first in 11, with Hamilton 8/15. Whichever man wins will join Juan Manuel Fangio on five career championships. Only Michael Schumacher (seven) has more.
French Grand Prix 2018 – what happened in qualifying?
One of the most obvious gains that Vettel has made on Hamilton in 2018 has been in qualifying.
The Brit took pole in 11 races last season, with teammate Valtteri Bottas sweeping up four of the remaining nine and Vettel qualifying fastest on just four occasions.
Vettel took a mere seven races to equal that total this time, converting half of his quartet into victories.
However, it’s Hamilton who will start at the front of the grid in the maiden race at the Circuit Paul Ricard, with his adversary two places back. Bottas, unsurprisingly, is the buffer.
The Mercedes man capitalised on the previous occasion he started first in Spain and has won nine of the last 12 races he was on pole for. He’s 4/9 to deliver again, with Vettel and Bottas both 6/1.
Those looking for a reason to back Ferrari’s main man may note that the last time Hamilton didn’t prevail after bossing qualifying was in Australia, with Vettel cashing in from third.
French Grand Prix 2018 – drivers in form
Vettel and Hamilton may be clear of the field in the outright standings, but this hasn’t been a two-driver season. They’ve locked out the top two podium spots just once.
Indeed, it hasn’t even been a two-team showpiece. There was a Red Bull on the podium at the last three races and, while Daniel Ricciardo has enjoyed more glory with two triumphs in 2018, his divisive colleague Max Verstappen has tasted champagne at two of the last three.
The Dutchman qualified a place higher in fourth and is 11/10 to finish in the top three once more.
Further back, Sauber’s Charles Leclerc will be targeting points for the fourth race in five after qualifying in eighth, and is priced at 5/2.