Hamilton and Bottas on the first row for the French Grand prix

Hamilton and Bottas on the first row for the French Grand prix

Lewis Hamilton
photo: Mercedes

The Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas occupied the first row of starting grid for the French Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari will be on third position while Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo will take fourth and fifth positions.

The weather during qualifying differed a lot from the one in Friday’s free practices. The air temperature was not so much lower – 23 degrees, but the track’s temperature fell significantly due to the rain. Yesterday, the asphalt heated up to over 50 degrees, before today’s qualifying was only 30. At least the rain, which practically cancelled the final free practice, had stopped and the clouds cleared before the session.

The McLaren drivers did not continue after Q1 as well as the Williams ones and Brendon Hartley of Toro Rosso. Then Red Bull and Mercedes went through Q2 on supersofts while the Ferraris were on ultrasofts.

In the decisive battle for the first five rows, Lewis Hamilton was the fastest (1:30.222), followed at 0.095 seconds by his teammate Bottas. Vettel was third fastest. 7:49 minutes before the end of Q3, Romain Grosjean went off the circuit in the third turn and crashed into the barrier. The race control stopped the session until the marshals removed the broken Haas from the track. The driver called on the radio that he was well, but could not turn on the reverse.

Raikkonen first started the last qualifying stints, followed soon by his teammate, the drivers of Mercedes and Red Bull. Kimi made a mistake in the third turn, then received a message from his team that it was time to push. Bottas came out first with 1:30.147, but Hamilton returned to the top with 0.118 seconds better time. Vettel stayed third, at 0.371 sec.