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Hamilton to join exclusive club as Verstappen smashes Red Bull record

Hamilton to join exclusive club as Verstappen smashes Red Bull record

F1 News

Hamilton to join exclusive club as Verstappen smashes Red Bull record

Hamilton to join exclusive club as Verstappen smashes Red Bull record
GPFans Staff & Sundaram Ramaswami

F1 returns to France for the penultimate race weekend before the summer shutdown.

Normal service is resumed this weekend after the Austrian Grand Prix saw the return of the sprint format for the second time this year.

Charles Leclerc shortened Max Verstappen's championship lead to just 38 points with his first victory since April.

But before we head into the race weekend at the Paul Ricard Circuit, here are all the key stats and facts you need to know.

Lewis Hamilton to join an elite club

Lewis Hamilton will start his 300th F1 race on Sunday. He will be the sixth driver to do so after Rubens Barrichello, Michael Schumacher, Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen.

Ominously, no driver has scored a race win after passing this milestone.

Having never raced with a different engine supplier, this is also Hamilton's 300th race with Mercedes. No other driver has reached this mark.

Verstappen a Red Bull record breaker

Max Verstappen will make his 130th race start with Red Bull this weekend, making him the team’s most-capped driver. He will surpass Mark Webber’s tally of 129 starts for the team.

Many layouts and many overtakes

With a length of 5.842 km, Paul Ricard is the fifth-longest track of the season after Spa-Francorchamps, Jeddah, Baku and Silverstone.

Situated in Le Castellet, the venue is mostly used as a dedicated testing facility and hence has 167 different track configurations to choose from.

It has also produced an average of 41.6 overtakes per race since its return to F1. Amongst active circuits, only the Interlagos track has seen more overtakes on average [46] in the last five years.

The numbers, however, favour the pole-sitter as 64 per cent of the races have been won by the driver starting P1, including the last three.

Hamilton a podium shoo-in?

Hamilton has stood on every French GP podium since Paul Ricard returned to the F1 calendar in 2018 - winning that year and again in 2019, and runner-up in 2021.

The seven-time champion has also qualified in the top three on each occasion he has raced in France, although was subject to a 10-place penalty in 2008 for an incident at the previous round.

Ferrari a recipe for French GP success

With 17 poles and the same number of wins, Ferrari is the most successful team in France, although only two of those wins have been at the Paul Ricard circuit.

Michael Schumacher has the most victories in the country with eight, six of which were with the Scuderia.

Juan Manuel Fangio has the most pole positions in France with five.

Alonso to snatch Raikkonen record

If Fernando Alonso makes it past the first three laps of the French GP, he will claim the record for the most laps raced in F1. Kimi Raikkonen currently leads the list with 18,621 laps raced in the sport.

Look away Ocon and Gasly!

A French driver has retired from 14 of the 17 races held at Le Castellet. Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly are the only two French drivers on this year's grid.

Esteban Ocon recently completed his 100th F1 race but he has yet to score a point on home soil.

France historically important

Grand Prix racing originated in France. The first event to carry the moniker was held at Le Mans in 1906.

In 1901, an event in Pau carried an award named the 'Grand Prix de Pau' but the event was not labelled as such.

This weekend will see the 62nd running of the French Grand Prix, an event that featured on the inaugural F1 calendar in 1950.

The Paul Ricard Circuit will host its 18th world championship event this weekend, matching the record in France with Magny Cours.

Sundaram Ramaswami -Twitter/Instagram - @f1statsguru

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