Lewis Hamilton on pole in France


Lewis Hamilton won a battle with Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas for pole position at the first French Grand Prix for 10 years.

Hamilton beat Bottas by 0.118 seconds in a top 10 shoot-out interrupted by a red flag following a crash by Haas driver Romain Grosjean.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was third, ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

And there was a starring performance from rookie Charles Leclerc, who put the Sauber in eighth place on the grid.

Young Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc surprised many by putting his Sauber into the final top 10 shoot out

Mercedes back on top

Mercedes dominated the final session and Hamilton was ahead of Bottas by just 0.095secs after their first runs.

Grosjean then crashed at the fast-entry Beausset double right-hander, bringing the session to a halt while the Haas was removed.

On the final laps, Bottas beat Hamilton’s earlier time, but the world champion snuck back ahead shortly afterwards.

It gives Hamilton a good opportunity to reclaim the championship lead from title rival Vettel, who is one point ahead following his win in Canada last time out.

Hamilton was further ahead in the first two sessions but found his advantage cut on the final runs.

“Q3 has not been spectacular,” he said, “Q1 and Q2 were good, but Q3 was so-so.”

Vettel said: “I pushed too hard. I saw the time was nearly there with a perfect lap, but I made some mistakes.”

The Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were fourth and fifth, ahead of the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen.

More to follow

How does it feel to drive an F1 car at Paul Ricard?
British cyclist Adam Yates rode the circuit before qualifying – he will contest this year’s Tour de France
Lance Stroll loved his time in the rain during a wet final practice. The Williams’ chief engineer, Rob Smedley, did not, politely telling the Canadian to head back into the garage
Fire in the hole: Marcus Ericsson crashed during Friday practice and the resulting fire melted the side of his Sauber
Alain Prost won the last race held at Paul Ricard in 1990



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