Not the most thrilling race, for the most part, but it was green, which is nice.
Off the line the Ferraris started well, and got very close to Verstappen. Leclerc managed to get past the Dutchman, who found himself fending off Vettel.
Further down the field Gasly got tagged by someone (perhaps Stroll) and had to immediately pit and get a fresh nose. This took an age, and he was last by a country mile after the first lap.
At the sharp end Hamilton cruised off into the distance, where his own trouble was deciding at which restaurant he would celebrate his latest triumph (as an aside, I expect my bet on him to beat Schumacher’s win total to come off next season).
Bottas quickly got up to about 15th or so, having started dead last, but mysterious reasons meant nobody could use DRS for the first quarter of the race, and he got bottled up for a while behind a Racing Point. He eventually made headway and the miraculous reappearance of DRS then helped him out for the rest of the race.
The soft tyres on Vettel’s car actually held up surprisingly well, meaning that Ferrari didn’t make a needless strategy blunder after all. Gosh.
Nevertheless, the two Ferraris pitted earliest of the frontrunners. Hamilton and Verstappen stayed out for quite a while, as did some cars further down the order (particularly Perez).
Bottas continued to gain, and when both Ferraris had a second pit stop this allowed him to reach striking range on Leclerc, but only on the final lap. The Finn ran out of time, but the Monegasque faces investigation for his team misreporting the fuel in his car during qualifying, so Bottas may yet be promoted to the podium.
Behind him was Vettel and Albon, the German passing (having had an extra pit stop) the Thai late on. And leading the way serenely was Hamilton. Verstappen got 2nd, in a bit of a No Man’s Land, unable to challenge the Mercedes but clearly faster than the Ferraris. I really hope Red Bull can give him a car that can have a tilt at the title next year. A Hamilton-Verstappen duel would be great for the sport.
Further back, Perez’s long initial stint allowed him to benefit from fresh rubber late on and he passed Norris to be best of the rest. The Briton was right behind, though, and has done well in his first season. Kvyat and Sainz rounded out the points positions and it currently appears (may change if Leclerc is penalised) that the Spaniard will be sixth in the Drivers’ table, the best of the rest. He’s driven well all year and McLaren are finally bouncing back from their prolonged sojourn in the wilderness.
The bet was not very exciting, but it did come off, with the only retirement being Lance Stroll (he boxed and retired, unsure why).
In green/red terms, this season has been a welcome change, with both halves of 2019 profitable. I didn’t hedge much but that approach was less profitable (but still green). It’s been a pretty good year, the French car park aside, with one or two good bets and the odd fluke (Perez a couple of races to be best of the rest was sheer luck).
Looking forward, only two teams change drivers, and just one at each. Renault says goodbye to Hulkenberg, who may or may not return (again), and takes on Ocon. Williams parts ways with Kubica, and brings in Latifi. Hope they have a better season in 2020.
Not sure whether I’ll put up a post-season review, or whether I’ll be writing these again next year. I imagine I’ll still offer tips, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Nice to end the year with a green race, though.