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French GP: Lewis Hamilton Qualifies On Pole, Questions Ferrari's Strategy

24 June, 2018, 14:26 | Author: Lula Armstrong
  • F1 2018 Gets New French GP Gameplay Featuring Grosjean, Ocon and Gasly

Hamilton heads the second first all-Mercedes front-row of the season at Paul Ricard, just a fortnight after the world champions were humbled by Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari in Montreal. "It's really, really great to have this result".

Race stewards said his vehicle had been fitted with a fourth engine and turbo charger, exceeding the 21-race season's allocation of three. He finished the race in Canada fifth, and saw Vettel turn a 14-point deficit into a one-point lead with a victory.

Bottas credited the upgrade with the gains on the track.

"We've introduced new spec power units for France", Mercedes technical director James Allison said.

"It's going to be a little harder to focus on the race because we will be watching it", he told reporters on Thursday. "I trust the team, and if we have to use the older-specification engine, I am not anxious".

"I did push everything in the last attempt but pushed too much", said Vettel. "We have a good vehicle".

Mercedes took control and Hamilton clocked the best time in Q1, which ended, as rain began to fall, with both McLarens and both Williams eliminated - a sad contrast to the pomp of the once-great British teams, when the French race was last held at the Paul Ricard Circuit 28 years ago.


Red Bull took 4th and 5th place with Max Verstappen going almost 2 tenths quicker than his team mate Daniel Ricciardo and Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen took 6th place on the grid.

They were followed by Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, Renault's Carlos Sainz Jr. and Sauber rookie Charles Leclerc, who impressed with his first top-10 time. With so many spectators stuck outside the venue, the large grandstands erected around the circuit remained sparsely populated throughout both practice sessions.

Five drivers, including Red Bull's Max Verstappen, did not complete any laps and the times were meaningless with nobody on track for some 40 minutes.

With the England football team hot favourites to secure progression to the Round of 16 at the World Cup against Panama, the country's only current F1 driver is also odds-on to win his own worldwide content in Sunday's grand prix. Hamilton said on his team radio the McLaren driver was going "dangerously slow" when he came upon him.

There was gloom at McLaren, with last weekend's Le Mans 24 Hours victor and double world champion Fernando Alonso managing only the 16th best time.

However, the team had been tight lipped about whether these parts were the new specification.

The eighth round of the 2018 Formula One season returns to Europe and to France for the first time in a decade.

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