Hamilton leads the way as F1 returns to France

Lewis Hamilton pic: Mercedes F1 Twitter

Lewis Hamilton has ended Friday practice fastest at Le Castellet as Formula 1 made its first appearance in France in a decade.

The Mercedes driver ended the day seven tenths of a second clear of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, though posted a slower time than he’d managed in the day’s opening session.

Hamilton banked a 1:32.231s in Practice 1 only to lose two tenths in ultimate pace as the day wore on, ending with a 1:32.539s.

With times down across the board in Free Practice 2, Hamilton lost less than most as second fastest Ricciardo dropped nine tenths over his FP1 best.

Valtteri Bottas ended the day second fastest overall, despite tumbling to seventh in Practice 2 as he sat out the second half of he session.

A fluid leak forced Mercedes to remove the floor on his car as they worked to find the source, which took the remainder of the session.

Free Practice 2 was interrupted when Sergio Perez shed the left rear wheel on his Force India at the halfway point in the session.

The Mexican had started a flying lap before the wheel parted company with the car as he turned left onto the Mistral Straight, drawing the red flag.

Hamilton found his run on ultrasoft tyres compromised by the incident, while Bottas looked to have promising pace on the ultrasoft tyres prior to the stoppage.

Romain Grosjean climbed up the order as he completed his ultrasoft run prior to the incident, the Haas driver sixth in the session.

Brendon Hartley ended both sessions 15th fastest, losing a second in the day’s second session as track conditions slowed.

Having not hosted an official Formula 1 session since 1990, the Paul Ricard circuit bore witness to plenty of spins, including offs for Kimi Raikkonen, Esteban Ocon, Fernando Alonso.

There was drama for Marcus Ericsson earlier in the day after he crashed out late in Practice 1.

The Swede lost control at Turn 11 before coming to rest in the tyre wall, for the rear of his car to catch fire in the impact.

The right hand bodywork sparked alight as the 27-year-old worked through the shutdown sequence and begun to climb free, unaware of the fire after losing the right side mirror in the crash.

Though extinguished quickly by track side officials the damage to the chassis ruled the Sauber out of the remainder of the day’s running.

Practice continues on Saturday ahead of qualifying, which is scheduled to begin at midnight AEST.

Result: Formula 1 French Grand Prix Practice 2

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m32.539s
2 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Renault 1m33.243s
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull Renault 1m33.271s
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m33.426s
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m33.689s
6 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1m33.699s
7 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m34.156s
8 Fernando Alonso McLaren Renault 1m34.400s
9 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1m34.457s
10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso Honda 1m34.535s
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m35.067s
12 Carlos Sainz Jr. Renault 1m35.086s
13 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Renault 1m35.172s
14 Charles Leclerc Sauber Ferrari 1m35.583s
15 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso Honda 1m35.697s
16 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 1m35.705s
17 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1m35.936s
18 Sergey Sirotkin Williams Mercedes 1m35.970s
19 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1m36.080s
20 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari No Time


Results: Formula 1 French Grand Prix Practice 1

Pos Driver Team Time
1  Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m32.231s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m32.371s
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Renault 1m32.527s
4 finland Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m33.003s
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m33.172s
6 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1m33.318s
7 Max Verstappen Red Bull Renault 1m33.331s
8 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso Honda 1m33.685s
9 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1m33.719s
10 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1m34.108s
11 Carlos Sainz Renault 1m34.258s
12 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 1m34.484s
13 Charles Leclerc Sauber Ferrari 1m34.513s
14 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1m34.592s
15 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso Honda 1m34.664s
16 Fernando Alonso McLaren Renault 1m34.862s
17 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1m34.881s
18 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m34.993s
19 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Renault 1m35.021s
20 Sergey Sirotkin Williams Mercedes 1m35.105s

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