FP2: Hamilton finishes on top as Bottas hits trouble

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F1 Grand Prix, GP France, Circuit Paul Ricardfr

Lewis Hamilton ended the first day of the French GP weekend on top with a 1m33.243s, 0.703s faster then Daniel Ricciardo in second and Verstappen in third.

Hamilton already showed good pace during the early soft and supersoft runs, making good use of his brand new and updated power unit. His early times were at the top of the charts before Ricciardo clocked slightly faster on the Ultra Soft tyre. The early runs were plagued by mistakes due strong tailwinds, with Grosjean going off the track at turn 12 , Alonso going wide at turn 1 and Raikkonen having a donut moment at turn 2. Perez also had issues keeping his car on track, foreshadowing what would come for him later in the session. After those first minor interruptions, laptimes quickly got lowered by ferrari, red bull and mercedes in succession.

Around the midway point of the session, most of the drivers went out for their qualification runs. Vettel and Ricciardo got their laps in on the ultrasofts before the session got red flagged due a bizarre incident where Perez lost his left rear wheel between turn 5 & 6. The wheel luckily just rolled off to the side of the track without bringing anyone in jeapordy.

Right after the green flag was shown, Hamilton came out and duly set a convincing time on the table that would not be touched again for the rest of the session by anyone, clearing himself 7 tenths from second placed Ricciardo. Verstappen, who neither was able to do a time before Perez' incident, slotted in 3 hundreds of a seconds behind Ricciardo.

Not all was well at the Mercedes garage though. Bottas stayed inside the garage while the team removed the floor to check for an issue. It was later confirmed Bottas would not drive anymore due a water leak.

After the qualification runs, it was back to running stints as usual. Vettel showed quite impressive pace on supersofts. Meanwhile Stroll was loosing his temper on the radio due his car feeling uncontrollable. Leclerc had a small off track moment, while Hartley had to stop on the track after loosing drive. Alonso finished off quite an incident-packed practice with a spin at turn 4, marking the tricky conditions.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarTimeGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:32.539-27
23Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:33.243+0.704s31
333Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:33.271+0.732s24
47Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:33.426+0.887s29
55Sebastian VettelFerrari1:33.689+1.150s35
68Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari1:33.699+1.160s30
777Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG1:34.156+1.617s7
814Fernando AlonsoMcLaren Renault1:34.400+1.861s24
920Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:34.457+1.918s33
1010Pierre GaslyScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:34.535+1.996s35
1127Nico HulkenbergRenault1:35.067+2.528s30
1255Carlos SainzRenault1:35.086+2.547s33
132Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren Renault1:35.172+2.633s28
1416Charles LeclercSauber Ferrari1:35.583+3.044s33
1528Brendon HartleyScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:35.697+3.158s31
1631Esteban OconForce India Mercedes1:35.705+3.166s25
1718Lance StrollWilliams Mercedes1:35.936+3.397s34
1835Sergey SirotkinWilliams Mercedes1:35.970+3.431s35
1911Sergio PerezForce India Mercedes1:36.080+3.541s13