Following a dramatic Azerbaijan Grand Prix, where F1 title protagonists Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton both failed to score points, Sergio Perez claimed his first win for Red Bull.
The Mexican was joined on the Baku podium by Sebastian Vettel, celebrating his maiden rostrum for Aston Martin, and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly.
Verstappen, who suffered a scary tyre blowout while leading in the closing stages of the Azerbaijan GP, still leads the drivers’ standings by four points after Hamilton dropped from the victory fight to out of the points at the restart.
Hamilton accidentally flicked a setting on his Mercedes steering wheel which altered the brake bias on his car which made him lock-up and run off the track at the first corner.
F1 returns to the more traditional circuits for the summer stretch of the European season, starting with a visit to Circuit Paul Ricard for the French GP, having missed the race last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hamilton has won both French GPs for Mercedes since the race returned to the F1 calendar in 2018, while both Fernando Alonso (2005) and Kimi Raikkonen (2007) are former French GP winners on the current grid.
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
2021 Formula 1 French GP session timings
F1 will continue to run its revised weekend schedule for 2021, with shorter practice sessions on Friday. Two free practice sessions lasting 60 minutes each (rather than the previous 90-minute sessions) are followed by an additional practice session also running for one hour on Saturday morning.
The Q1, Q2 and Q3 knockout-style qualifying format is also being retained on Saturday afternoon to decide the grid for the French GP on Sunday.
F1 has also ditched starting races at 10 minutes past the hour mark for the 2021 season, with all races starting at the top of the hour.
Friday 18th June 2021
Free Practice 1: 10:30am-11:30am BST (11:30am-12:30pm local)
Free Practice 2: 2:00pm-3:00pm BST (3:00pm-4:00pm local)
Saturday 19th June 2021
Free Practice 3: 11:00am-12:00pm BST (12:00pm-1:00pm local)
Qualifying: 2:00pm-3:00pm BST (3:00pm-4:00pm local)
Sunday 5th May 2021
Race: 2:00pm BST (3:00pm local)
How can I watch the French GP?
Channel: Sky Sports F1 HD
Channel numbers – Sky: 406
Channel numbers – Virgin Media: 506 (Sky Sports F1 HD)
Sky Sports has live and exclusive broadcasting rights in the United Kingdom with the build-up to the F1 race starting from 12:30pm ahead of lights out at 2:00pm.
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF90, leads Pierre Gasly, Red Bull Racing RB15, Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Racing C38, Daniel Ricciardo, Renault F1 Team R.S.19, Nico Hulkenberg, Renault F1 Team R.S. 19, and the remainder of the field on the opening lap
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
When can I watch the highlights?
· Channel: Channel 4
· Start time: Saturday qualifying 6:00pm, Sunday race 6:30pm
Channel 4 has the rights to show French GP highlights of qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday.
Will it be on the radio?
Live radio coverage of every practice, qualifying and race for the 2021 F1 season will be available on the BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra stations.
Coverage of the French GP will start at 2:00pm BST on BBC Radio 5 Live, available on both DAB radio and the BBC Sounds app.
Will there be fans at the French GP?
Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the French GP will be limited to a maximum capacity of 15,000 fans.
A French Grand Prix promotion squad among fans in a grandstand
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Weather forecast for the French GP
Le Castellet is set for largely sunny and cloudy conditions throughout the race weekend, with a minimal chance of rain. Across the weekend highs of 29 degrees Celsius are predicted – around three degrees warmer than the hottest conditions at the Azerbaijan GP.
Most F1 French GP wins
Michael Schumacher: 8 wins (1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006)
Alain Prost: 6 wins (1981, 1983, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993)
Juan Manuel Fangio: 4 wins (1950, 1951, 1954, 1957)
Nigel Mansell: 4 wins (1986, 1987, 1991, 1992)
Jack Brabham: 3 wins (1960, 1966, 1967)
Jackie Stewart: 3 wins (1969, 1971, 1972)