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Five reasons to look forward to the French Grand Prix

Nick Murphy | 19 June 2018

Round eight at Circuit Paul Ricard

The F1 World Championship rolls onto round eight this weekend with the return of the French Grand Prix after 10 years.

After two processions in Monaco and Canada, there’s hope that the Circuit Paul Ricard will shake things up as the championship builds towards its summer climax.

The Coral News Team are excited to have the French Grand Prix back on the menu. And they’ve picked out five reasons to look forward to this weekend’s race as a result…

The French GP is back!

First and foremost, it’s great to have the French Grand Prix back on the calendar. The country hosted the first ever grand prix in 1906 but lost its race in 2008 after running into financial difficulties. The land of the tricolour has been absent from the F1 schedules for 10 years since Felipe Massa triumphed in the last race at Magny Cours.

Now it’s back. But with a twist. The drivers aren’t heading to Magny-Cours anymore. Instead, it’s off to the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet. The 3.6m track has two long straights and looks perfectly set up for a tight and exciting race.

Start of the summer crunch

The French Grand Prix marks the start of a hectic period in the F1 calendar. After the drivers finish up in the south of France, they’ll jet to Spielberg for the Austrian Grand Prix a week later and Silverstone for the British GP a week after that.

It’s too early to say that the summer triple header could make or break a driver’s season. But getting off to a good start in France could be imperative ahead of a crucial three weeks of action.

Vettel v Hamilton, part VIII

This year’s title race is shaping up to be something special. After seven rounds of action, there’s just a single point separating Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton at the top of the Drivers’ Championship. The German edged ahead following victory in Canada to make it three race victories so far this season.

Hamilton has been far from his brilliant best in his last two outings and will be hoping to be back on the top step of the podium in France. He’s 6/4 to win the race – the same price as arch-rival Vettel.

Alonso returns after Le Mans

Things didn’t quite go to plan for Fernando Alonso in Canada. The McLaren ace was forced to retire at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with an exhaust issue. Two weeks are a long time in motorsport, though.

And between Canada and France, Alonso has been rather busy. The Spaniard competed in – and won – his first ever Le Mans 24 hours race with the Toyota Gazoo Racing Team.

His ultimate aim is likely to become only the second ever man to land the Motorsport Triple Crown. But until that opportunity presents itself, Alonso could enjoy a short-term boost to his F1 form thanks to his Le Mans exploits.

Mercedes have their engine upgrade 

Mercedes were hindered in Canada by a delay to their expected engine upgrade. Technical director Toto Wolff claimed after the race that the upgrade would “definitely have made a difference” to the overall outcome.

There’s no telling just how significant the power unit upgrade will turn out to be. But after both Ferrari and Renault introduced new engines in Canada, it could be a fine margin improvement that gives the Silver Arrows that extra edge in France.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing