Boring French Grand Prix should accelerate rule changes

Lewis Hamilton ruled yet again in a drab French Grand Prix and there was more damning criticism of the regulations following a race that was a poor advert for Formula One.

Hamilton led from pole to flag at Circuit Paul Ricard on Sunday, Valtteri Bottas giving Mercedes a sixth one-two of the season as the Brit extended his advantage to 36 points.

The Silver Arrows' dominance added insult to injury for Ferrari, two days after the FIA rejected their request to review a decision to hit Sebastian Vettel with a five-second penalty that cost him victory at the Canadian Grand Prix.

Vettel said the governing body should "burn the papers" when asked about the rulebook after the verdict was announced, with his title hopes surely already up in flames.

There was more woe for Vettel when he qualified in seventh spot and could only finish fifth in the French Riviera, team-mate Charles Leclerc outperforming him in his homeland.

After the drama of Vettel being stripped of what would have been his first win of the season in Montreal, it was pretty much all plain sailing for Mercedes in Le Castellet.

The only heat Hamilton was feeling was from the searing temperatures, but there were again disgruntled drivers after more sanctions were imposed.

Sergio Perez was left perplexed after he was given a five-second penalty for leaving the track to gain an advantage on the opening lap, leading to more talk of the need for rule changes.

"I don't understand why I was penalised," the Racing Point driver said. "I have to look at it properly, but I did what I'm supposed to do, which was to go around the bollards.

"The rule is that you have to come back on the track as soon as you go through the bollards, which is what I did. I think what they did is wrong, because I stuck to the rules."

Daniel Ricciardo departed without points following the decision to hit the Renault man with two post-race time penalties, relegating him from seventh to 11th.

The Australian was deemed to have re-joined "unsafely forcing another driver off track" after attempting a pass around the outside of Lando Norris.

Ricciardo said after the race: "When the track's so wide you've got to improvise a little. It was a fun last lap. To be honest whatever happens, I don't really care.

"I think it was fun and it's better to have a fight and see what happens than to just sit behind and be a loser, so yeah, I enjoyed it."

Hamilton also weighed in, telling reporters: "When you say 'it's boring' – I totally understand it but don't point the fingers at the drivers because we don't write the rules.

"We should put the pressure on the people that are at the head. I think they are trying but for many, many years they've made bad decisions."

Hamilton attended a recent meeting to discuss new regulations in Paris and an uneventful race in the same country ought to accelerate much-needed changes.

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