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The duel between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton resumed at the Paul Ricard, with the two going wheel-to-wheel after a nerve-racking fight.

Difference in strategies meant that Verstappen had to overtake the Mercedes of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages, with Sergio Perez partially emulating his teammate to finish third, ahead of the Finn. 

Max Verstappen – 10

A snap coming into turn one meant Verstappen lost the lead after the getaway, but he was having none of it. 

He chased Hamilton and gained the position with the undercut, then his pit crew opted for a second stop. 

It appeared hard, but Verstappen put the hammer down, made his way back from fourth and went on to complete the first hat-trick of his career. 

Lewis Hamilton – 9

Although he was coming off two poor races, this performance was a typical of Hamilton’s. Even when he isn’t quite the absolute favourite to win, he always gives a shot. 

He seemed slower than Bottas going into Q3, but put in a strong lap to start from the front row. 

He found himself leading on two different occasions, but it just wasn’t the day of the Mercedes strategists. 

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Sergio Perez – 8

He quietly emerged from nothing to snatch a late podium. It was an anonymous weekend for Perez until few laps to go, spent chasing behind the front trio. 

However, extending his first stint helped him make a late charge and overtake Bottas. 

It’s a crucial move for Red Bull’s title hopes, as it appears that the Austrians finally found the number two driver they were hoping for. 

Valtteri Bottas – 7

Bottas appeared mighty quick on Friday and Saturday morning, but then, as it often happens, he struggled when it mattered. 

He was in third and at the beginning of the second stint he was chasing down hard on Verstappen and Hamilton. 

He kept up and it was probably the best we saw of him in a long while, but once again, he came out as the loser. 

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Lando Norris – 9

Lando Norris came all the way back from P10 after the start to finish a strong P5 and best of the rest. 

His pace was scintillating, as after his pit stop he started putting in a series of overtakes that elevated him high up. 

Qualifying is always a bit of a struggle, but in the race, Norris is always there.

Daniel Ricciardo – 8

Today we had the first real glimps of the Daniel Ricciardo we have long been used to. 

Even if Norris eventually finished ahead, Ricciardo put in a strong showing, moving past his teammate at the start and appearing assertive. 

He overtook Fernando Alonso, Pierre Gasly and both the Ferraris to equal his best finish for the team. 

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Pierre Gasly – 8

After a difficult start to the year, Gasly is finally finding his form and his home race was another strong show. 

He had a very long battle with Carlos Sainz, which he finally pipped for P7. 

More than 80% of Alpha Tauri’s points come from the Frenchman, which says all about how well he is driving at the moment.

Fernando Alonso – 8

Considering the struggles Alonso went through in the first races, it came as a surprise to see the Spaniard so high up in all sessions. 

Alonso was quick and always in the mix, moving past the two Ferraris and coming very short of Ricciardo and Gasly’s place. 

It was finally a weekend where he was all throughout the leader for his team. 

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Sebastian Vettel – 7.5

After two great weekends in street circuits, the Aston Martin seemed to return behind in the pecking order, but Sebastian Vettel extended his streak of points finishes. 

He drove a solid first stint on hard tyres, going a long distance before emerging out of the points and climbing back up to P9. 

Lance Stroll – 6.5

Qualifying was another mess, partially due to his fault and to the team’s, as he was with no competitive time set in Q1 when the red flag came out.

He started from the back, but as per usual he went long on the first stint and made a late charge, which resulted in a P10 finish. 

Carlos Sainz – 6 

All of Ferrari’s pace disappeared on Sunday, as Sainz’s positive performance became vain. The Spaniard appeared quick on Saturday and qualified a very strong P5. 

However, after leading the midfield runners in the opening stages, his pace disappeared as tyre degradation kicked in. 

It wasn’t quite as disastrous as Leclerc’s, but enough to slip out of the points. 

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George Russell – 8

What’s impressive about George Russell’s 12th place in the French GP is that he was as low as 18th at one point and that every car finished the race. 

It was a great showing from the Williams driver, who pitted early and was quick all throughout to make up places. 

Yuki Tsunoda – 4.5

The Japanese driver was forced to start the race from the pits, after he had the third qualifying crash of his Formula 1 career. 

He made up a few places, but not enough to end in the points. It’s a shame, considering how fast Gasly managed to go. 

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Esteban Ocon – 5

Not quite the home race he would have liked.

Esteban Ocon finished well outside the points, even if he ran close to Alonso in the opening stages. 

Going longer on the first stint didn’t help his cause, as he failed to make up ground.

Antonio Giovinazzi – 6

It was a difficult day for the Alfa Romeo, who couldn’t mount a challenge for the top 10.

Antonio Giovinazzi was quick on Saturday, only missing Q3 by less than two tenths.

However, he just followed Ocon to the flag and was unable to make a move. 

Charles Leclerc – 4.5

This was arguably one of Leclerc’s worst F1 weekends and not just because of the result. 

He appeared slower than Sainz and only a late spark in Q3 qualified him seventh. 

It all appeared promising when he made the undercut on Sainz and Gasly, but the Monegasque driver started to drop back and finished a lone 16th, after stopping twice. 

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Kimi Raikkonen – 5

Kimi Raikkonen’s weekend never really kicked in, as the Finn was eliminated in Q1, as the red flag went out. He had a very long first stint, but failed to charge back and had to settle for P17. 

Nicholas Latifi – 5

Nicholas Latifi made a decent start and was running in front of Russell for a quarter of the race. 

However, once the Brit went past, Latifi dropped back and finished P18 for the third time this season. 

Mick Schumacher – 5.5

The German keeps proving faster than Nikita Mazepin, but slightly more error prone. He had a crash in qualifying, although that helped him to a Q2 appearance. 

He started high up, but was soon overtaken, to drop as low as last. 

He got the place back on Mazepin, but that was as far as he could go. 

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Nikita Mazepin – 5

Mazepin’s weekend was a copy of his last showings. 

He once again failed to outpace Mick Schumacher in qualifying and, although he found himself ahead for parts of the race, eventually finished last. 

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July 2024