Lewis Hamilton took his sixth victory of 2019 in dominant fashion at the Circuit Paul Ricard, leading every lap from start to finish, and only missing out on the fastest lap on the final lap thanks to Sebastian Vettel’s late stop for fresh soft tyres.
Hamilton maintained his lead heading into turn one on lap one and was in a class of his own up front as he ended more than eighteen seconds clear of Mercedes AMG Motorsport team-mate Valtteri Bottas, with the Finn now thirty-six points behind the Briton in the Drivers’ Championship standings.
Despite appearing to have it all his own way, Hamilton said it wasn’t as easy as it looked as he was forced to conserve fuel and his engine and look after his tyres, which looked noticeably second hand at the end due to blisters, particularly on the front right tyre.
The victory was the seventy-ninth of his Formula 1 career and Hamilton admitted that the novelty never wears off and he loves being on top of his machine at the front of the field.
“I’ve been racing a long, long time but this just never gets old,” said Hamilton. “It’s always a challenge out there and I just love trying to find the edge, and really being on top of this machine.
“This is actually an awesome track to drive in the race, there’s some really technical areas. It may look easy from the outside but it wasn’t easy at all, everything’s always on the edge. So, when I could, I was saving tyres, saving the engine, saving fuel.
“I had quite big blisters on my front tyres which I was a little worried about. But we got to the end and I couldn’t do it without this incredible team. I’m so proud of everyone and so proud to be part of this group of people.
“This has been the best start of the year so we have got to enjoy it.”