Formula 1

The German had a subdued Friday at Le Castellet.

An unseen moment for Sebastian Vettel epitomises F1 fans' one main problem with Paul Ricard

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This weekend sees the French Grand Prix return to the Formula 1 calendar for the first time in 10 years at a circuit many modern fans may not be familiar with, Paul Ricard.

That's because it was Magny-Cours that played host the last time France was on the schedule in 2008, with the track at Le Castellet having not had the honour since 1990.

Those familiar with motorsport more broadly know that the circuit has been more commonly used as a testing facility since then and today it is one of the safest venues anywhere in the world.

That means, however, it is characterised by vast run-off areas but to try and add some character, those areas are painted with different coloured stripes,  blue near the track and red as cars approach the barriers.

Interestingly, they have a purpose too with the blue stripes covering an abrasive surface aimed at slowing the cars down, while the red stripes cover an even more abrasive tarmac for the same purpose.

The problem is they are absolutely everywhere and some fans claimed they were actually impacting how they were watching.

Though not all fans were impacted, some were just left unimpressed by the whole look.

The Mistral 'maze'

Nowadays it is also not uncommon for circuits to feature more than one layout to accommodate junior categories or simply change the characteristics of the track.

In this area Paul Ricard is also over the top as at numerous points on the start/finish straight the circuit turns right to link up with the Mistral Straight, but it is on that 1.8km run that the most configurations are present with a number of different chicanes available.

There were some concerns that all these different routes could cause confusion for the drivers and Sebastian Vettel was at least one driver caught out during practice as the tweet below shows.

A cone was later put on the correct apex to help the drivers and by the end of the day, it was no longer an issue.

Vettel left wanting more after practice

As for Vettel himself, his practice day was pretty subdued as Ferrari appeared the third-best team behind Mercedes and Red Bull.

The four-time world champion would be fifth in both sessions but he wasn't too concerned when speaking in the paddock later.

“I think the car was quick, but I wasn't able to be quick with the car today, simple as that,” he claimed.

F1 Grand Prix of France - Practice

“Sometimes you have these days. I think it's a tricky track, not easy to get everything right from start to finish.

“Some corners are difficult to find the sweet spot but on the long run, I was able to play a little bit more, try different things with lines and understand a little bit more.

“On one lap it looks like we are a little bit more behind," the 30-year-old added. "I didn't put great laps in. Therefore I'm not too stressed about the one-lap performance."

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Sebastian Vettel
Max Verstappen
Daniel Ricciardo
Lewis Hamilton
Red Bull
Formula 1

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