Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Hamilton tops charts on first day of French GP practice

Lewis Hamilton admits England game against Panama will be a distraction Hamilton takes pole as Sainz claims 7th and Alonso suffers
| 28 June, 2018, 13:58

The current world champion earned his third pole of the season, and will start first on Sunday at the Paul Ricard circuit with the aim of recovering the lead in the Formula One standings from Germany's Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), who is just one point ahead, reported Efe.

"Great work guys! I'm so happy for England as well", he said over the team radio, referring to the national soccer team's 6-1 World Cup rout of Panama in Russian Federation. "Every time, I was driving around at home last week the games were on everywhere".

"But there's a long way to go and we'll keep approaching the rest of the season like we approached today".

The session ended in drama with three minutes remaining when Swede Marcus Ericsson crashed heavily into the barriers at the high-speed Beausset corner, his Sauber auto bursting into flames on one side.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was fourth on the timesheets in both sessions, with Vettel also fifth in both. The Swedish driver was unharmed.

Hamilton called his run "impeccable".

After topping qualifying for the first time since the Spanish Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton said it was great to be back at the front of the grid in France.


Charles Leclerc twice spun to a brief stop, while Max Verstappen drove his Red Bull wide on consecutive corners and Kevin Magnussen had a near miss with Sergio Perez.

Two of the three French drivers retired on the spot, with Force India's Esteban Ocon and Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly the unlucky casualties.

Vettel said the winds picked up after the lunch break, telling his team it was "quite gusty so the track is a lot slower" than the morning.

A wheel then came off Sergio Perez's Force India vehicle at speed on the Mistral straight in the late afternoon.

Williams and McLaren, two of the sport's most successful teams who are going through hard times, continued to struggle.

Vettel, who won in Canada two weeks ago, has an one-point lead over his fellow four-time world champion.

"I feel very grateful for a solid weekend", said Hamilton after his victory at the Circuit Paul Ricard, the first French GP in 10 years.

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