Hamilton takes pole position for French GP; Vettel 7th

Lewis Hamilton timed his best lap to perfection to take pole position ahead of his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas with a blistering late effort at the French Grand Prix.

Pole position qualifier Lewis Hamilton celebrates in parc ferme after the French GP qualifying.   -  Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton eased to pole position at the French Grand Prix ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas, with Sebastian Vettel struggling to qualify just seventh.

Mercedes locked out the front row in comfortable fashion, with Hamilton's time of 1:28.319 never looking like it would be challenged.

The championship leader was ahead after the first runs of Q3, then improved with his second attempt, although his initial time would still have proven enough as Bottas could not go quicker than his opening effort.

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Bottas ended the session 0.286 seconds adrift for Mercedes, who have looked dominant all week in topping every practice and qualifying session.

The Mercedes cars were the first to reach the chequered flag, but there would have been few nerves on the pit-wall about whether they would be caught as the other cars completed Q3.

Charles Leclerc was third for Ferrari after finishing 0.646s behind, with Max Verstappen over a second adrift in fourth to complete the second row.

"It's not an easy track, Valtteri's been quick all weekend and I just kept chipping away," said pole-sitter Hamilton. "I'm happy I got the potential out of the car."

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:28.319
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +0.286s
3. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +0.646s
4. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +1.090s
5. Lando Norris (McLaren) +1.099s
6. Carlos Sainz (McLaren) +1.203s
7. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +1.480s
8. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) +1.599s
9. Pierre Gasly (Red Bull) +1.865s
10. Antonio Giovinazzi +5.101s

 

French Grand Prix qualifying times on Saturday:

Q3

1. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 1:28.319

2. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Mercedes) 1:28.605

3. Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari) 1:28.965

4. Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull-Honda) 1:29.409

5. Lando Norris (GBR/McLaren-Renault) 1:29.418

6. Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP/McLaren-Renault) 1:29.522

7. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Ferrari) 1:29.799

8. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Renault) 1:29.918

9. Pierre Gasly (FRA/Red Bull-Honda) 1:30.184

10. Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA/Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari) 1:33.420

Q3

1. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 1:28.319

2. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Mercedes) 1:28.605

3. Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari) 1:28.965

4. Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull-Honda) 1:29.409

5. Lando Norris (GBR/McLaren-Renault) 1:29.418

6. Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP/McLaren-Renault) 1:29.522

7. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Ferrari) 1:29.799

8. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Renault) 1:29.918

9. Pierre Gasly (FRA/Red Bull-Honda) 1:30.184

10. Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA/Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari) 1:33.420

Q1

1. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Mercedes) 1:30.550 (Q)

2. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 1:30.609 (Q)

3. Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari) 1:30.647 (Q)

4. Nico Hulkenberg (GER/Renault) 1:30.865 (Q)

5. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Renault) 1:30.954 (Q)

6. Sergio Perez (MEX/Racing Point-Mercedes) 1:30.964 (Q)

7. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari) 1:30.972 (Q)

8. Lando Norris (GBR/McLaren-Renault) 1:30.989 (Q)

9. Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP/McLaren-Renault) 1:31.073 (Q)

10. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Ferrari) 1:31.075 (Q)

11. Pierre Gasly (FRA/Red Bull-Honda) 1:31.152 (Q)

12. Kevin Magnussen (DEN/Haas-Ferrari) 1:31.166 (Q)

13. Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA/Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari)1:31.180 (Q)

14. Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull-Honda) 1:31.327 (Q)

15. Alexander Albon (THA/Toro Rosso-Honda) 1:31.445 (Q)

16. Daniil Kvyat (RUS/Toro Rosso-Honda) 1:31.564

17. Romain Grosjean (FRA/Haas-Ferrari) 1:31.626

18. Lance Stroll (CAN/Racing Point-Mercedes) 1:31.726

19. George Russell (GBR/Williams-Mercedes) 1:32.789

20. Robert Kubica (POL/Williams-Mercedes) 1:33.205

 

(With inputs from AFP)