Monday, 16 July, 2018

Bottas leads rainswept final practice in France

Lewis Hamilton Sebastian Vettel GETTYLewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have fronted the pack for much of the 2018 F1 season
Jennie Wade | 25 June, 2018, 06:54

The race nearly finished under a virtual safety auto, caused by Lance Stroll losing a tyre from his Williams, but the precaution was lifted with half a lap to go.

Bottas only managed seven laps in FP2, finishing in seventh, a stark contrast to the second placed he managed in the day's early afternoon session.

Vettel ran into the back of Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas at Turn 1, taking both men out of contention helping Verstappen claim an unlikely podium for Red Bull.

After banging wheels with Hamilton in Azerbaijan, crashing out in Singapore, tangling with Hamilton and Verstappen at the start in Mexico, and running off the road at April's Azerbaijan Grand Prix, this was Vettel's fifth costly mistake in 12 months.

The race was the first French Grand Prix in a decade and the first at the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, a city on Fracne's southern coast between Marseille and Toulon, in almost 30 years. Bottas was in a collision with Vettel and went to the back of the field.

The race today gets under way at 3.10pm BST, both having been moved back an hour to avoid a clash with the World Cup - which is handy if you want to watch England's second group match against Panama.

"In the end, there wasn't that much I could have done differently", he said.

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Vettel finished only fifth after colliding with Hamilton's Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas at the start.

Vettel caused chaos at the French GP after crashing into the back of Valterri Bottas as he lunged on the inside. It's always a challenge when you come to a new circuit, but you're constantly learning new things and I love the challenge of trying to get into the swing of it before everyone else.

"Mistakes happen and they happen to the best of us". "I think we had no problems with the tyres, so I think we have made progress, and hopefully we can keep learning and make progress". "We're all on the edge, we're fighting for the world championships, we're not pootling around, we're out there putting our lives on the line, we're out there putting the cars as far beyond the edge as we can in the safest manner".

Renault's Nico Hulkenberg took ninth place with Monaco rookie Charles Leclerc a fine 10th for Sauber and denying Haas's French driver Romain Grosjean his first point of the season.

Basking in the Mediterranean sun, driving conditions were optimal at the 5.8-kilometre circuit situated next to a private airport where planes took off and landed all weekend.

F1 is returning to France for the first time in a decade and the Paul Ricard track is hosting its first elite race since 1990.

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