Hamilton would prefer the French Grand Prix to run at Magny-Cours, rather than Paul Ricard this year.
Hamilton says he’d prefer the French Grand Prix to run at Magny-Cours, rather than Paul Ricard, for its long-awaited return to the Formula 1 calendar in June.
Hamilton drove his Mercedes W08 at Paul Ricard in September, making a rare appearance in a Pirelli tyre test as the supplier finalised 2018 slick-tyre compounds. He completed 114 laps on the day, before handing over to teammate Valtteri Bottas.
In an interview with Canal + Sport’s Thomas Senecal for a season review show, Hamilton was asked his thoughts on the 3.6-mile Ricard track in Le Castellet. 'Honestly I don't like it, just to be straight with you,' said Hamilton. 'I loved it when we used to have the grand prix in Magny-Cours. [Paul Ricard] is in a beautiful place, but the track, when I say I don't like it, it's not as great as Magny-Cours.
'I think the most important thing is that we do have a grand prix back in France because it's an important part of Europe, it's an important part of the European tour. It's just, you know, France has so many beautiful, beautiful circuits – Le Mans, for example – and for some reason we don't have it at the most beautiful track. It doesn't register for me, I'm a driver and I'm dead straight with you, and I'm not gonna beat around the bush.
'But maybe we will have the best race of the whole season there.'
The French GP will take place at Paul Ricard on 24 June 2018. Built in 1970, the track has hosted the French GP 14 times between 1971 and 1990. Former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone bought the circuit in 1999 and set about redeveloping the site as a highly adaptable testing facility, with technology including the ability to simulate rain using sprinklers.
Next year's race will be the first French GP since the 2008 event at Magny-Cours.