Lewis Hamilton in pole position while McLaren face humiliating defeat after the qualifying round at the French Grand Prix
After a decade of Formula One’s last visit to France, Lewis Hamilton was the one to impress at the Paul Richard Circuit as he claimed his 75th pole.
Mercedes look to be on the right track after the poor finish in Canada. Both Mercedes drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas came out on top with Sebastian Vettel finished third.
But what really stood out in the qualifying round on Saturday was the humiliating result by McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne who qualified 16th and 18th respectively out of the 20 drivers.
Alonso and Vandoorne were dumped out of qualifying at the first hurdle and ended up a full three seconds slower than Hamilton.
Alonso, 36, will be out of contract at the end of this season and it does not seem likely that he will want to continue under the team’s current malaise.
Hamilton has been boosted with a new Mercedes engine this weekend, and the defending champion made no mistake as he secured top spot ahead of Bottas with his final flying lap.
The 33-year-old Englishman was a third of a second clear of Vettel, who had no answer for the Mercedes cars.
“Qualifying is always tough, but it feels great to be back in France,” said Hamilton. “It is such a brilliant place.
“I am really excited to come to the first Grand Prix at Paul Ricard for a long time and to be on the front row is a great showing for the team.”
Vettel added: “It is difficult to get the right balance. I pushed too hard in the last attempt, and you end up losing time rather than gaining.
“I knew with an amazing lap I stood a chance but it didn’t arrive.”
Romain Grosjean crashed out during the final phase of qualifying after he lost control of his Haas at Turn 4, and slid across the track into the barriers.
Here are the full results from the qualifying hour for the 2018 French Grand Prix at the Circuit Paul Ricard.
- Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG 1:30.029
- Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG +0.118
- Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Ferrari +0.371
- Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing +0.676
- Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing +0.866
- Kimi Raikkonen Scuderia Ferrari +1.028
- Carlos Sainz Renault +2.097
- Charles Leclerc Sauber +2.606
- Kevin Magnussen Haas +2.901
- Romain Grosjean Haas No time
Q2: (Bottom five are eliminated)
- Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG 1:30.645
- Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Ferrari +0.106
- Kimi Raikkonen Scuderia Ferrari +0.127
- Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing +0.173
- Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG +0.582
- Romain Grosjean Haas +0.827
- Kevin Magnussen Haas +0.865
- Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing +0.893
- Carlos Sainz Renault +1.371
- Charles Leclerc Sauber +1.410
- Esteban Ocon Force India +1.430
- Nico Hulkenberg Renault +1.470
- Sergio Perez Force India +1.809
- Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso +1.815
- Marcus Ericsson Sauber +2.175
Q1: (Bottom five are eliminated)
- Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG 1:31.271
- Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing +0.260
- Kimi Raikkonen Scuderia Ferrari +0.296
- Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG +0.505
- Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Ferrari +0.549
- Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing +0.639
- Romain Grosjean Haas +0.812
- Kevin Magnussen Haas +0.965
- Carlos Sainz Renault +1.123
- Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso +1.176
- Charles Leclerc Sauber +1.267
- Sergio Perez Force India +1.421
- Esteban Ocon Force India +1.515
- Marcus Ericsson Sauber +1.533
- Nico Hulkenberg Renault +1.678
- Fernando Alonso McLaren +1.705
- Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso +1.754
- Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren +1.891
- Sergey Sirotkin Williams +2.365
- Lance Stroll Williams +2.458