• IN WORDS: Lewis and Valtteri Talk France

What do Lewis and Valtteri expect from the returning French Grand Prix?

'Still a long way to go'

The last round in Canada was a tough one for both Lewis and the team, but those moments present the best opportunities to learn, develop and improve. 

"I don't think there has been any point where we've felt invincible this season," Lewis said. "That's not the mindset anyone in this team has ever taken on.

"Losing the lead in the Championship is not something that I have on my mind. Not performing to my true potential, that is the hardest thing.

"When I am not performing at my true potential or when the team is not performing at its true potential, that is important.

"The other things don't even bear any weight at all. When you have worked hard in practice and you then just don't deliver, it's in those periods of time you learn the most.

"We are seven races in, but there's still a long way to go. I know that we can do better, and we have solutions of how to do that."

'There are a lot of unknowns'

Valtteri believes qualifying will be crucial at the Paul Ricard track, as he expects overtaking to be tough at the French circuit.

"We think it is going to be quite difficult to overtake here," the Finn explained on Thursday.

"If the back straight didn't have the chicane in the middle, there would've been some opportunities there with towing.

"But, with how the track is now, qualifying will be very important. We think it is going to be close again.

"There are a lot of unknowns, though. It's a different type of track with resurfaced tarmac.

"We really need to be reactive on Friday and Saturday with the car set-up and how we get everything out of the tyres."

'I feel very positive'

There's something that little bit more special and exciting about heading to a new circuit and Lewis is eager to start getting to know the Paul Ricard circuit.  

"I drove here with the Pirelli test last year, so I got to see the circuit," he explained. "It is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

"Just the whole set-up down here, the weather is fantastic and the organisers have done a great job.

"I really like going to new tracks. You know when you get your first job and you get that exciting sensation?

"I like to experience that on the race track. I have been racing forever and everything becomes the norm, but when I prepare for a new circuit, I'm excited to get in the car, get the feeling of a new track and a new race.

"Having that feeling, that excitement. I feel very positive coming into this weekend."

'It's not the easiest track'

Valtteri, on the other hand, has experience racing at Paul Ricard - although it was almost a decade ago. He's pleased to see France back on the calendar.

"It's very nice to see the French GP back on the calendar," Valtteri explained. "I have never raced F1 in France so it is going to be good.

"I have raced here before in junior formulae nearly ten years ago. It seems like there is a very strong fanbase in France. I already saw it coming to the circuit today.

"It's not the easiest track. Some people have said it's not that exciting, but as a driver when you are looking for all the details, how to be quick and how to get that perfect lap I think it is quite an interesting circuit in that way.

"There are many corner combinations and many technical sections that we need to really learn how to be quick through. There are a lot of different types of corners."