Hamilton pips Bottas for Mercedes one-two at Paul Ricard

F1 2018 Gets New French GP Gameplay Featuring Grosjean, Ocon and Gasly

Lewis Hamilton won a battle with Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas for pole position at the first French Grand Prix for 10 years.

This was the first chance drivers had to run on the 5.8km Paul Ricard Circuit, as F1 makes its return to France for the first time in a decade.

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 ideal chance to regain the initiative in the title race in Sunday's race. "It will be on television in the Mercedes hospitality suite, and I am sure my engineers are going to keep an eye on it".

Getting into the World Cup spirit, the 22-year-old Frenchman wore the national football shirt of Les Blues, along with a trademark cap and shades. It has not been great for us in my lifetime, but England deserves to win the World Cup at some stage. "I was feeling fine until the last qualifying". "To be the one raising the flag, hopefully against the German flag, just like we are hoping the England football team does against Germany, is an honour and a privilege".

Vettel arrives into this weekend as the championship leader, having regaining the advantage from Lewis Hamilton by winning the Canadian Grand Prix.

The luckless New Zealander will start Sunday's race from the back of the grid after being handed a heavy penalty for replacing engine parts.

Looking ahead to the weekend's action, Vettel says that Ferrari are happy with their vehicle but admits that it'll be hard to know what to expect with a new track like Paul Ricard.

"The championship is all about tiny margins", Hamilton added. "But we won't really know its full potential until tomorrow when everyone gets to turn their engines up".

"The fresher engine this weekend will be great as it will have more power than the one I used at the last race".

The Spaniard, 36, completed the second leg in his pursuit of motor racing's Triple Crown with victory at Le Mans last weekend, but was coy on whether he will stay in F1 next season.

McLaren's dismal run of form continued as it endured its worst qualifying result of the season, with neither Fernando Alonso nor Stoffel Vandoorne making it out of Q1.

The McLaren driver was quickest in both the morning and afternoon sessions, ending up seven-tenths clear of in-demand Australian Daniel Ricciardo who was second for Red Bull.

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