Hamilton Takes Pole Position At The French Grand Prix
Hamilton has taken pole position, ahead of Bottas and Vettel.
On 5 December 2016, it was announced that the French Grand Prix would return to the Formula 1 calendar for the 2018 season, to be held at Circuit Paul Ricard. This will be the first French Grand Prix since 2008 (last held at Magny-Cours) and the first at Circuit Paul Ricard since 1990.
We will have to wait until tomorrow to see who will win the race, but here is how qualifying went.
Q1 went off without a hitch, and up until 7 minutes remaining, Raikkonen had produced the fast lap time of 1:31.567. Verstappen came in with a 1:31.531 around the 6 minute mark, and leading Q1, and into Q2 as the fastest driver was Lewis Hamilton with a 1:31.271.
For the first time since China last year, Ericsson managed to qualify for Q2.
Eliminated from Q1: Stroll, Sirotkin, Vandoorne, Hartley and Alonso.
Brendon Hartley will start at the back of the pack following a number of changes to his car that incurred penalties. It was a shame to see Alonso have another poor qualifying session, and I hope he will be able to work his way through the field tomorrow, and into the points.
It was a very disappointing qualifying for Williams, and McLaren, as they lost all of their drivers in Q1.
Q2 started with a queue of drivers, wanting to get their best lap in early, as the weather changed, and rain approached the track. Lap times were disappointing, until Bottas came in and recorded a fast lap which was soon overtaken by a very quick Hamilton with 1:30.645.
With 3 minutes of Q2 remaining, nothing had changed apart from a change of tyres for a number of drivers, as they re-entered the track to make sure they were putting in the best possible lap, as the rain stopped falling, and the tracked dried out.
Eliminated from Q2: Ericsson, Gasly, Perez, Hulkenberg and Ocon.
Into Q3 with Hamilton, Vettel, Bottas, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Sainz, Magnussen, Leclerc and Grosjean.
For the first time since 2015 in Italy, Sauber have a car in Q3, thanks to some amazing driving from Charles Leclerc.
Hamilton impressed throughout qualifying, and continued this in Q3, until the session was red-flagged. Grosjean, in turn 3, over-steered and crashed into a barrier. Nothing serious, nor was it a huge crash but enough to stop the session.
Around 6 minutes later, and Q3 started again, with 7:49 on the clock. Raikkonen was out first, but it took until 3 minutes of the qualifying session remaining to see any other cars appear on the track.
Hamilton, once again, put in a very quick 1:30.222, with his biggest competition coming from his team mate; Bottas. In the last sector, Bottas overtook Hamilton, which lasted a mere few sections before Hamilton came in with a 1:30.029.
Hamilton will start the race on pole position, and he is where the rest of the pack will start.
#1: Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes - 1:30.029
#2: Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes - 1:30.147
#3: Sebastian Vettel - Ferrari - 1:30.400
#4: Max Verstappen - Red Bull/Renault - 1:30.705
#5: Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull/Renault - 1:30.895
#6: Kimi Raikkonen - Ferrari - 1:31.057
#7: Carlos Sainz - Renault - 1:32.126
#8: Charles Leclerc - Sauber/Ferrari - 1:32.635
#9: Kevin Magnussen - Haas/Ferrari - 1:32.930
#10: Romain Grosjean - Haas/Ferrari - NO TIME
#11: Esteban Ocon - Force India/Mercedes - 1:32.075
#12: Nico Hulkenberg - Renault - 1:32.115
#13: Sergio Perez - Force India/Mercedes - 1:32.454
#14: Pierre Gasly - Toro Rosso/Honda - 1:32.460
#15: Marcus Ericsson - Sauber/Ferrari - 1:32.820
#16: Fernando Alonso - McLaren/Renault - 1:32.976
#17: Brendon Hartley - Toro Rosso/Honda - 1:33.025
#18: Stoffel Vandoorne - McLaren/Renault - 1:33.162
#19: Sergey Sirotkin - Williams/Mercedes - 1:33.636
#20: Lance Stroll - Williams/Mercedes - 1:33.729
I will be watching the race tomorrow, from 3pm on Sky Sports.