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French GP: Hamilton outpaces Bottas by 0.069s in FP1

French GP: Hamilton outpaces Bottas by 0.069s in FP1

Lewis Hamilton edged Valtteri Bottas as Mercedes claimed a comfortable one-two in the opening practice session for Formula 1's French Grand Prix.

The Mercedes duo led the lead Ferrari of Charles Leclerc by almost four tenths of a second at Paul Ricard.

Mercedes took control of a largely uneventful session heading towards the final half-hour, while Ferrari's influence was limited after a bout of early running and then a late rise up the order.

Bottas put Mercedes on top for the first time after half an hour of running but was displaced by second round of runs approaching the one-hour mark.

Pierre Gasly's Red Bull and the McLaren of Lando Norris had very brief spells in P1 as they switched to fresh soft tyres.

However, Bottas then moved to the top on his own new set of softs, before Hamilton surged ahead on a 1m33.272s.

That got whittled down to a 1m32.738s, which Bottas was just unable to match and had to settle for a time 0.069s slower.

Leclerc ended the session third, 0.373s off the pace, after demoting Max Verstappen's Red Bull.

Verstappen was 0.8s off the pace in fourth as his team had a scruffy session, with the Dutchman and teammate Gasly both suffering spins.

Sebastian Vettel languished down the order for most of FP1 as Ferrari opted for a lot of running early on as it evaluated new aero parts.

That meant Vettel was among the last of those to go out for a second run, initially improving to 12th and then to fifth, albeit a full second off the pace.

Gasly managed to haul himself into sixth and avoid being beaten by a member of the non-big three teams, but by less than 0.02s.

Norris finished best-of-the-rest for McLaren, just behind Gasly – who was lucky not to plough his Red Bull into the wall after a lurid off at Turn 4.

Gasly lost the rear of his car through the Turn 3 right-hander and slid sideways off track to the right of Turn 4, coming to a rest just before the barriers.

Carlos Sainz completed a seventh-eighth result for McLaren in FP1 and Daniel Ricciardo's Renault was ninth, 0.28s off having lost time when he clipped a kerb and the team had to check for damage.

Alex Albon completed the top 10 for Toro Rosso.

A water leak consigned Romain Grosjean to the Haas garage for most of the session.

The Frenchman managed just nine laps and was 4.8s off the pace, behind the two Williams drivers as FP1 stand-in Nicholas Latifi outpaced Robert Kubica but 0.025s.

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 21 1'32.738  
2 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 20 1'32.807 0.069
3 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 21 1'33.111 0.373
4 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 20 1'33.618 0.880
5 Germany Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 22 1'33.790 1.052
6 France Pierre Gasly Red Bull 20 1'34.091 1.353
7 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 23 1'34.110 1.372
8 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren 26 1'34.261 1.523
9 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Renault 18 1'34.540 1.802
10 Thailand Alex Albon Toro Rosso 25 1'34.804 2.066
11 Mexico Sergio Perez Racing Point 21 1'34.809 2.071
12 Germany Nico Hulkenberg Renault 25 1'34.810 2.072
13 Canada Lance Stroll Racing Point 22 1'35.063 2.325
14 Russian Federation Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 24 1'35.326 2.588
15 Denmark Kevin Magnussen Haas 19 1'35.410 2.672
16 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 22 1'35.522 2.784
17 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 22 1'36.102 3.364
18 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 25 1'37.147 4.409
19 Poland Robert Kubica Williams 27 1'37.172 4.434
20 France Romain Grosjean Haas 9 1'37.620 4.882
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About this article

Series Formula 1
Event French GP
Author Scott Mitchell