tiptrot.com July 18, 2018

Hamilton wins in France to retake F1 lead

25 June 2018, 01:21 | Susie Olson

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Lewis Hamilton finally got his improved engine and put it to good use on Saturday, streaking away to a record-extending 75th career pole position at Formula One's French Grand Prix.

The first race in France in a decade and the first at Circuit Paul Ricard since 1990 featured a dramatic opening lap that allowed the Mercedes of Hamilton to clear out as those behind him got caught up in the drama.

"Obviously for Valtteri it was very bad because it affected his race and he had nothing to do with it, so I went to him after the race".

The four-time world champion clocked a best lap in one minute and 30.029 seconds to grab the 75th pole position of his career ahead of Bottas, giving himself a flawless chance to regain the initiative in the title race in Sunday's race. "But P3 I'm happy with because the vehicle should be good in the race". Vettel had a new front wing fitted, while Bottas recovered to the pits with a left rear puncture.

"We have all pulled together and done a great job in putting the vehicle where we need it, for both Valtteri and I", Hamilton said.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen qualified fourth with Australian team mate Daniel Ricciardo fifth and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen sixth.

Sebastian Vettel managed to finish fifth after a collision at the first corner saw him damage his auto and incur a five-second time penalty.

It has not won since Hamilton's triumph at the Spanish Grand Prix, but non-executive chairman Niki Lauda believes it is now back on the right track, though he is wary of the impact of the weather.

After steering clear of the lap one accidents in France on Sunday and finishing second, Verstappen made his feelings clear on Sebastian Vettel's actions - the German having been one of his most vocal critics.

"After Saturdays, I'm always here answering negative questions", Alonso, whose future at McLaren remains uncertain, told Sky Sports. "It's too little. Five seconds is nothing".

"We were side by side and I went for the outside, left enough room for him, but he went wide and he hit me".

After all the commotion, polesitter Hamilton was leading with Verstappen second, Ricciardo fourth, Vettel 11th and Bottas 13th. Mercedes kept Hamilton out until lap 33 when he stopped for the soft tyres, emerging behind Raikkonen who had yet to stop.

Vettel made contact with Valtteri Bottas at the first corner of the Paul Ricard race, which damaged both cars and forced them into the pits before mounting a fightback.

The French Grand Prix is the first of three races in three straight weeks with the Austrian Grand Prix taking place at the Red Bull Ring on Sunday, followed by the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on July 8.

Kevin Magnussen (Haas), Bottas, Carlos Sainz (Renault), Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) and Charles Leclerc (Sauber) finished out the points.

The other Mercedes-powered cars are those of Force India's Mexican Sergio Perez and Frenchman Esteban Ocon as well as Williams' Russian Sergey Sirotkin and Canadian Lance Stroll.

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