Going into the race as the championship leader, Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel dealt a blow to his title ambitions with a collision between himself and Valtteri Bottas on the opening lap of the race. Using a softer tyre than both Mercedes drivers, Seb had a stronger getaway from the lights and was running right behind the Mercedes cars into the first corner. However, he braked too late for the corner and ran wide, understeering into Bottas and damaging both cars.
With the race under a safety car, the German driver recovered back to the pits for a change of front wing and fresh tyres, whilst Valtteri Bottas suffered a puncture and floor damage. From there, both drivers had to recover through the field, with the Maranello team’s driver finishing in fifth – despite a five-second time penalty – and Bottas in seventh.
“It was a shame about the accident at the start, which meant we couldn’t show what we could really do. But on a track that is not best suited to the SF71H, it proved to be very competitive in tenms of its race pace. That was evident from the great fight back up the order, featuring overtaking moves from Kimi and Sebastian. The team gave its all, making the right strategy calls to give the drivers every chance to get the best result possible in the circumstances. With such a tight calendar, we are already looking ahead to the Austrian GP, which gets underway in a few days and we have to focus on making up the lost ground.” – Scuderia Ferrari Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said, at the end of the 2018 French Grand Prix, as reported by the Italian media.