Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes told they can finally compete with Red Bull and Ferrari rivals at French GP this weekend
FORMER F1 racer Anthony Davidson has backed Mercedes to find the pace to compete with Red Bull and Ferrari in the French Grand Prix.
Brit duo Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have been edging closer to the front runners in recent weeks.
Mercedes have claimed FOUR third-place podium spots in a row and will look to improve again this weekend with victory in their sights.
Seven-time champ Hamilton claimed his car was getting back to it’s best at the Austrian GP.
And now ex-driver Davidson has told Sky Sports that if there is any circuit for Toto Wolff’s team to compete with the likes of Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, it is the Paul Ricard.
He said: “I think if there’s any circuit you could choose from this season, it would have been Silverstone and Paul Ricard, where Mercedes would have a chance to mix it with the top two teams – Red Bull and Ferrari – on genuine pace.
“Especially coming off the back of Austria, where they had a good solid race.
“Not on the same level as Red Bull and Ferrari, but traditionally that’s been quite a weak circuit for them.
“Bearing in mind what we saw at Silverstone, a really strong race pace there.
“Paul Ricard is a nice smooth circuit which should suit the car, high grip situation as well, high degradation on the tyres, all of these elements coming together for Mercedes should mean that the car should be in its happy place.”
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Russell, 24, is only five points behind Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz in the driver standings and could make that up in France.
Whilst 37-year-old Hamilton is only 19 points behind his young team-mate.
But Sir Lewis will be forced to sit out the first practice session at the French GP due to a little-known rule, it has been revealed.
For the 2022 season, all ten teams are required to run a “young driver” in two FP1 sessions.
A driver who meets the rookie criteria is 2019 F2 and 2020-21 Formula E champion Nyck de Vries, and he will replace Hamilton in Friday’s FP1.
Mercedes statement read: “Nyck de Vries will be driving in place of Lewis Hamilton in FP1.
“Over the course of the season, each driver is required to give up one of their first practice sessions for a young driver.
“Lewis has selected FP1 in France for his session, and George’s will take place later in the season.”
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