Hamilton chases down Verstappen and takes Hungarian Grand Prix victory

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton snatches victory from rival Max Verstappen with four laps to the flag following a strategy switch from the Mercedes Formula 1 racing team to defeat Red Bull.

Hamilton swapped to a two-stop tyre strategy in a bid to use fresh Pirelli to mount a late attack on Verstappen.

Verstappen held on until the start of lap 67, when Hamilton used DRS to attack on the outside into Turn 1 and Verstappen’s “dead” tyres left him powerless in defence.

A switch to soft tyres for the final three laps allowed Verstappen to at least score a bonus point for fastest lap, as Ferrari’s lead driver Sebastian Vettel completed the podium – though more than a minute behind race winner Hamilton.

Verstappen held onto the lead at the start as fellow front-row driver Valtteri Bottas locked up attacking on the outside and made light side-by-side contact with his Mercedes teammate Hamilton.

Bottas tried to defend from Hamilton into Turn 2 but locked up again, allowing Hamilton to cut back and went by around the outside into Turn 3 – compromising Bottas and letting Charles Leclerc to get ahead in his Ferrari.

Leclerc made contact with Bottas in the process and the Mercedes driver’s front wing was broken, which proved too problematic to continue with beyond lap five, triggering an early pitstop and destorying Bottas’s race.

At the front, Verstappen quickly established a two-second advantage but Hamilton fought back and was almost inside DRS range when Verstappen – complaining of losing grip – pit on lap 25.

Mercedes opted to extend Hamilton’s stint six laps beyond Verstappen’s, which dropped him 5.8 seconds behind when he rejoined but Hamilton’s pace on fresh tyres rapidly eliminated the gap.

He had DRS to attack Verstappen within five laps of rejoining, causing Verstappen to defend slightly into Turn 1 just as the race went past mid-distance.

Hamilton then took to the outside at Turn 4 but ran wide, slightly onto the run-off, which allowed Verstappen breathing space.

Verstappen requested more engine power in his bid to keep Hamilton out of DRS range but Hamilton was also suffering with brake wear, meaning another attack was not forthcoming.

Mercedes made the inspired strategy call by stopping Hamilton again on lap 48, a move Red Bull opted not to cover – giving Hamilton 20 laps to attack a 20-second gap to Verstappen on fresh tyres.

With six laps to go, and Hamilton just 5.5 seconds behind, Verstappen reported his tyres were “dead”, and two laps later Hamilton was within DRS range.

The Mercedes driver breezed by on the outside into the first corner with superior grip and braking performance, and with Verstappen unable to finish the race on his wrecked rubber the Red Bull dived into the pits.

Leclerc looked set to complete the podium after a difficult race from Ferrari, which faded from the lead battle swiftly and never looked like recovering.

However, Vettel switched to “Plan C”, which meant a long final stint on softs and a tall task up the time he lost to Leclerc by extending his first stint.

With just under three laps left Vettel caught and dived inside Leclerc at Turn 1 with an aggressive move to wrest the final podium position.

Carlos Sainz took advantage of Bottas’s nightmare race and a bad start for Pierre Gasly to steal fifth for McLaren, having also jumped his teammate Lando Norris on the opening lap.

Sainz ran in that position throughout the Hungarian Grand Prix and then withstood pressure from Gasly in the other Red Bull to finish fifth for the second race in a row.

Norris could have completed a 5-6 result for the Woking-based team but a problem with the left-rear meant a slow pitstop and dropped him behind Gasly and the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen.

He was too far behind to catch or pressure Raikkonen, who matched his best result of the season with seventh.

Bottas’s recovery was limited to eighth position, passing Norris late on, despite Mercedes predicting he could make it back to sixth.

Toro Rosso driver Alex Albon caught and passed teammate Daniil Kvyat and the Racing Point of Sergio Perez in the final third of the grand prix to complete the top ten and score another point.

Romain Grosjean was the race’s only retirement.

The Haas driver ran inside the top ten early on but slipped back after a long first stint did not pay off, and his car was wheeled into the garage with a water pressure problem with more than 20 laps remaining.

So congratulations to Lewis Hamilton in winning his seventh Hungarian Grand Prix and such a brilliant fightback in chasing down Max Verstappen. Kudos to Mercedes in making the inspired pit crew to pit Hamilton for fresh set of tyres, giving a great chance in grip and performance.

As for Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. This is racing. After the highs of Hockenheim a week earlier and that qualifying performance, second position is still a solid result.

Hungarian Grand Prix, race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:35:03.796
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda +17.796s
3 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +61.433s
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +65.250s
5 Carlos Sainz McLaren-Renault +1 lap
6 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda +1 lap
7 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari +1 lap
8 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +1 lap
9 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault +1 lap
10 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso-Honda +1 lap
11 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes +1 lap
12 Nico Hulkenberg Renault +1 lap
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari +1 lap
14 Daniel Ricciardo Renault +1 lap
15 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda +2 laps
16 George Russell Williams-Mercedes +2 laps
17 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes +2 laps
18 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo=Ferrari +2 laps
19 Robert Kubica Williams=Mercedes +3 laps
– Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari DNF

Verstappen achieves maiden pole position

A week on from that incredible Hockenheim race win, Max Verstappen claimed his first pole position at the Hungaroring for Red Bull Racing.

The Red Bull driver becomes the 100th different driver in Formula 1 to achieve pole. Verstappen looked in control in the very first runs in Q3 with a lap of one minute, 14.958 seconds, which put him 0.178 seconds ahead of Valtteri Bottas.

While Bottas was able to eclipse Verstappen’s time at the second attempt, Verstappen then went ever faster in a one minute, 14.572 seconds to take pole position by just 0.018 seconds thanks to his speed in the final sector.

Lewis Hamilton was two tenths off the pace in third position ahead of the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, who survived spinning backwards into the barrier at the last corner during Q1 to earn fourth position.

Sebastian Vettel was half-a-second off the pace in fifth position ahead of the Red Bull of Pierre Gasly, who was almost nine tenths off his teammate’s pace.

All of the top six will start Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix using medium Pirellis having used that tyre to set their time in Q2.

McLaren led the way in the battle for midfield supremacy, with Lando Norris shading Carlos Sainz by 0.052 seconds.

Romain Grosjean took eighth in the Australian Grand Prix-specification Haas, 0.028 seconds faster than the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen.

Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg was bumped to P11 and quickest of those eliminated in Q2 by Raikkonen’s late lap – missing out by less than half-a-tenth.

Although Hulkenberg failed to improve on his second run, that was still enough to keep him ahead of fellow non-improvers Toro Rosso pairing Alex Albon and Daniil Kvyat.

Antonio Giovinazzi was P14 for Alfa Romeo having also failed to find time at the second attempt, putting him ahead of Kevin Magnussen in the latest-specification Haas, who was unable to repeat his strong Q1 pace in Q2.

Giovinazzi also faces the threat of a grid penalty for impeding Lance Stroll’s Racing Point at Turn 5, with the race stewards investigating the incident after the qualifying session.

George Russell missed out on a first appearance in Q2 by just 0.053 seconds having been in the top 15 until the last moment in the first segment of qualifying.

Russell had made sure of clear track for his final run by making his attempt just before the rest started their laps, temporarily climbing as high as eighth.

But he was shuffled down the order as others completed their final laps, with Hulkenberg the final driver to get ahead and push him into the Q1 drop-zone.

Racing Point’s Sergio Perez did enough on his final run to jump ahead of the second Renault of Daniel Ricciardo, who had to back out of his final lap.

Ricciardo was caught in a gaggle of traffic at the last corner ahead of the start of his lap and attempted to find clear air by going around Perez before having to back out of it when the Racing Point driver was unwilling to let him go.

Stroll was P19 in the Racing Point, eight tenths faster than Williams driver Robert Kubica.

So an exciting and highly competitive qualifying session. Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen came out on top. Congratulations to Verstappen in finally claiming his first pole position. It’s been a long time coming, 93 attempts but the end result is just perfect. Bring on the race!

Hungarian Grand Prix, qualifying positions:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1m14.572s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m14.590s
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m14.769s
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m15.043s
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m15.071s
6 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda 1m15.450s
7 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1m15.800s
8 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1m15.852s
9 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m16.013s
10 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m16.041s
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m16.565s
12 Alex Albon Toro Rosso-Honda 1m16.687s
13 Federation Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 1m16.692s
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m16.804s
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m17.081s
16 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1m17.031s
17 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1m17.109s
18 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m17.257s
19 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1m17.542s
20 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 1m18.324s

Verstappen wins German Grand Prix thriller

What a race! Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen mastered the tricky conditions at Hockenheim to win a thrilling German Grand Prix as Mercedes faltered at their home event.

Rain before the start and during the race made for an incident-packed event in which polesitter Lewis Hamilton spun twice on his way to an eventual P11, and his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas crashed out.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel raced from the back of the grid to finish in an excellent second position, but it was a mixed day for the Scuderia after Charles Leclerc spun into retirement.

Daniil Kvyat was a brilliant third thanks to clever tactical strategy by Toro Rosso.

Torrential rain throughout the morning ensured this would be the first test of Formula 1’s new wet-weather starting procedures.

Predictably, a number of the more combative-minded drivers began to lobby for the safety car to be withdrawn so the race could begin, and it duly peeled off after several additional formation laps to enable a standing start.

Hamilton seamlessly converted pole into the race lead as Verstappen had too much wheelspin, losing out two places as both Bottas and Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen went by.

He almost lost a further place to the fast-starting Haas of Romain Grosjean, too, but Verstappen reasserted himself into Turn 1 and recovered third place from Raikkonen next time around.

Spray and uncertain grip levels precipitated chaos in their wake as Carlos Sainz’s McLaren ran wide in Turn 2 and Nico Hulkenberg and Leclerc pounced, and the midfielders bumped and banged their way through the opening laps.

At the end of the second lap Sergio Perez rotated his Racing Point into the barrier at the exit of Turn 11, bringing out the safety car.

Vettel – starting from the back of the grid after failing to run in qualifying – and Toro Rosso’s Alex Albon dived straight into the pits for intermediates while Hamilton and the rest of the frontrunners had to complete another lap before doing likewise.

A handful of teams gambled on leaving drivers out on the full wet tyres but that soon proved to have been the wrong option as a dry line began to form.

Kevin Magnussen was one such and, although he was running second behind Hamilton in the safety car queue, he was quickly swamped by Bottas and Verstappen when the race was green-flagged on lap 4.

Stopping a lap earlier elevated Vettel to P12 and he quickly cut through the midfielders ahead to run seventh behind Hamilton, Bottas, Verstappen, Leclerc, Nico Hulkenberg and Raikkonen. But he was still over half a minute behind Hamilton, who remained serene in the rapidly changing conditions, stretching his advantage over Bottas beyond five seconds.

Leclerc and Hulkenberg stopped early for new intermediates, on lap 15, and predictably the Ferrari left the Renault blowing in the wind as they rejoined.

By lap 22 Leclerc had closed the gap to Verstappen to below four seconds, leaving Hulkenberg twenty seconds down the road, though the threat to him from Raikkonen and Vettel was diminished by their worn intermediates.

On lap 23 Vettel was the first to pit for slicks, taking on the soft compound, signalling that Ferrari at least believed track conditions had passed the crossover point, even though the start/finish straight was still covered in a film of water. Red Bull brought Verstappen in from third place a lap later and fitted mediums.

Mercedes opted to fit mediums as well when it pitted Bottas on lap 26, while Ferrari went for softs on Leclerc’s car on the following lap. Hamilton was next in, for mediums, but his arrival in the pits coincided with a fresh downpour unheralded on the weather radar.

Leclerc immediately aquaplaned off at T17, beaching himself in the gravel and bringing out the safety car, and then Hamilton speared off-track at the same point on the following lap.

Hamilton managed to gather his Mercedes into line and just glanced the barrier, breaking his front wing, but he was able to head straight into the pits.

There chaotic scenes ensued as his unprepared crew fumbled for a new set of intermediate tyres and a replacement front wing, and to heap further misfortune on Hamilton’s plate he was hit with a five-second penalty for driving on the wrong side of the pit-entry bollard.

The rest of the field then pitted for intermediates as it became obvious that the slicks were unsuitable, leaving Verstappen in the lead ahead of Bottas, Hulkenberg, Albon, Hamilton, Sainz, Raikkonen and Vettel.

Hamilton made short work of Albon in green-flag conditions as Hulkenberg pressured Bottas, handing Verstappen the opportunity to break nearly ten seconds clear.

That enabled Verstappen to gain a free pitstop for fresh intermediates when the safety car came out again on lap 40, triggered when Hulkenberg went off at Turn 17 shortly after being passed by Hamilton for third.

The track began to dry again as the field circulated behind the safety car for four laps, prompting Racing Point to gamble by pitting the hitherto anonymous Lance Stroll for slicks the lap before the green flag, followed by Kvyat.

This dropped them to the tail of the field, but after the other runners also broke for the pits after the track had gone live, the duo benefitted to run second and third behind Verstappen.

Kvyat used DRS to pass Stroll on the run to the hairpin on lap 50, while Mercedes’ day went from bad to worse as Hamilton spun down to 15th place and then Bottas gyrated into the barrier at Turn 1 on lap 56, signalling yet more work for Bernd Maylander in what was proving to be a busy day at the office for the safety car driver.

With five laps to run the track went green again with Verstappen leading from Kvyat and Stroll, while Vettel relieved Sainz of fourth immediately after the restart.

Two laps later Vettel blasted by Stroll on the straight before the hairpin, and he nailed Kvyat next time round to grab second position in the final reckoning, crossing the lap 7.3 seconds behind the victorious Verstappen.

Stroll survived late attention from Sainz to retain fourth, while Albon made it to the chequered flag ahead of Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi despite a tag from Gasly that sent the Red Bull into retirement.

Grosjean and Magnussen rounded out the top ten, though was likely to be in short supply in the Haas camp since they contrived to collide once again in the closing laps, this time without eliminating each other.

So a crazy race, full of incidents, action, crashes and drama. With an unusual podium result. Congratulations to the Red Bull sponsored teams with Max Verstappen winning and Daniil Kvyat scoring third. As for Sebastian Vettel, what a fightback from last to second in the Ferrari.

German Grand Prix, race results:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1h44m31.275s
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 7.333s
3 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 8.305s
4 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 8.966s
5 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 9.583s
6 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso-Honda 10.052s
7 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 16.838s
8 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 18.765s
9 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 19.667s
10 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 24.987s
11 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 26.404s
12 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 42.214s
13 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 43.849s
14 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda Collision
– Valtteri Bottas Mercedes Spun off
– Nico Hulkenberg Renault Spun off
– Charles Leclerc Ferrari Spun off
– Lando Norris McLaren-Renault Power Unit
– Daniel Ricciardo Renault Exhaust
– Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes Spun off

Drivers’ standings:
1 Lewis Hamilton 225
2 Valtteri Bottas 184
3 Max Verstappen 162
4 Sebastian Vettel 141
5 Charles Leclerc 120
6 Pierre Gasly 55
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. 48
8 Daniil Kvyat 27
9 Kimi Raikkonen 25
10 Lando Norris 22
11 Daniel Ricciardo 22
12 Lance Stroll 18
13 Kevin Magnussen 18
14 Nico Hulkenberg 17
15 Alexander Albon 15
16 Sergio Perez 13
17 Romain Grosjean 8
18 Antonio Giovinazzi 1
19 Robert Kubica 1
20 George Russell 0

Constructors’ standings:
1 Mercedes 409
2 Ferrari 261
3 Red Bull-Honda 217
4 McLaren-Renault 70
5 Toro Rosso-Honda 42
6 Renault 39
7 Racing Point-Mercedes 31
8 Haas-Ferrari 26
9 Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 26
10 Williams-Mercedes 1

Hamilton scores pole at Hockenheim as the Ferrari challenges went broke

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton scored pole position for the German Grand Prix after the Ferrari challenge went broke following technical issues for Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel.

With Vettel eliminated in Q1 having completed a single lap thanks to a problem with the airflow to the turbo, Leclerc was the favourite for pole in Q3 having looked quickest up to that point.

But Leclerc was unable to take to the track during Q3, climbing out of his Ferrari and commiserating with the Scuderia and leaving the way clear for Hamilton to set the pace.

Hamilton then dominated Q3, with the lap of one minute, 11.767 seconds he set on his first run which was enough for pole after he failed to improve on his second lap thanks to time lost in the middle sector.

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen split the two Mercedes drivers, lapping 0.346 seconds slower than Hamilton and just 0.016 seconds quicker than Valtteri Bottas.

Pierre Gasly was fourth, lapping four-tenths slower than his teammate.

With the two Ferraris out of the way, Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen took fifth position with an advantage of 0.316 seconds over an otherwise congested midfield.

Romain Grosjean, driving a Haas running to the same specification used in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, was sixth and just ahead of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr.

Racing Point’s significant upgrade paid off for Sergio Perez, who qualified eighth ahead of the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg.

That left Leclerc classified P10 despite not running, as he had at least run without problem during the previous two segments of qualifying.

The Mercedes drivers and Leclerc will both start on the medium-compound Pirellis having used them to set their best times in Q2 – something Verstappen also attempted before aborting his first run after reporting a loss of power.

Antonio Giovinazzi was relegated to P11 and eliminated during a frenetic climax to Q2, lapping just 0.012 seconds slower than Perez.

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen, driving the latest-spec Haas, was always up against it after a lockup into the first corner on his final lap and failed to improve on his first-run time as a result – ending up P12.

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo’s late effort was only good enough for P13, leading him to apologise to the team over the radio, with Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat just over three-tenths behind.

Racing Point driver Lance Stroll escaped Q1 for the first time in 2019, completing three runs to do so and only having one fresh set of softs for Q2.

He was in contention to get into the top ten, but the rear-end stepped out in the penultimate corner and was unable to improve.

Lando Norris was fastest of those eliminated in Q1 in P16 just 0.055 seconds slower than Kvyat after being bumped into the drop zone by Giovinazzi’s late improvement.

But behind him was the furious Alex Albon, who was held up at the hairpin on his final Q1 lap by Norris and unable to improve on his first-run time as a result.

George Russell won the Williams team battle for the eleventh time this season, lapping just over a tenth quicker than Robert Kubica – the duo taking P18 and P19 thanks to Vettel’s failure to post a time.

So congratulations to Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton with this pole position. An important grid slot at the team’s home race. As for Ferrari, this was a terrible qualifying session as both drivers had the pace to grab P1 following an impressive practice sessions. Sunday’s German Grand Prix is going to be fascinating.

Qualifying positions, German Grand Prix:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m11.767s
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1m12.113s
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m12.129s
4 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda 1m12.522s
5 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m12.538s
6 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m12.851s
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1m12.897s
8 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1m13.065s
9 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m13.126s
10 Charles Leclerc Ferrari –
11 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m12.786s
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m12.789s
13 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m12.799s
14 Federation Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 1m13.135s
15 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1m13.450s
16 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1m13.333s
17 Alex Albon Toro Rosso-Honda 1m13.461s
18 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1m14.721s
19 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 1m14.839s
20 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari –

Hamilton victorious at Silverstone for the sixth time

Championship leader and home favourite Lewis Hamilton achieved his sixth victory at the British Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver benefitted from a safety car to jump his teammate Valtteri Bottas to score a popular Silverstone win.

Hamilton overhauled poleman Bottas by running a longer first stint that allowed him to only stop once, and it proved crucial when a safety car emerged after Bottas pit.

That gave Hamilton track advantage and he won comfortably after Bottas made a late second pitstop to use his mandatory second compound, having used mediums in his first two stints.

Charles Leclerc finished third after a dramatic battle for the final podium spot, in which Leclerc had an epic fight with Verstappen – who was later fired into the gravel by Vettel.

Pierre Gasly scored his best result for Red Bull with fourth, while Verstappen managed to get his car out of the gravel and finish fifth, with Vettel down in P16 after needing a new front wing and being hit with a ten-second time penalty.

Bottas led the first part of the race but kicked off the pitstops amongst the leaders while Hamilton extended his stint to lap 20. That was vital for Hamilton, who was already considering switching to the hards and executing a one-stop strategy.

He and Vettel, who struggled in the opening stint down in sixth, but also extended it, then had their persistence rewarded when the safety car emerged.

Antonio Giovinazzi locked the rear wheels on his Alfa Romeo entering the penultimate corner and slid sideways into the gravel.

With the race neutralised Hamilton and Vettel dived into the pitlane, rejoining in first and third respectively and with no further pitstops to make.

In the fight for the win, Bottas was hamstrung by the decision not to pit under the safety car and switch to hard tyres, which locked him into a two-stop strategy.

He was unable to attack Hamilton at the restart and ran a couple of seconds adrift, before eventually pitting seven laps from the end having opened up a big enough gap to the best of the rest.

That meant he still finished second, and looked to claim the fastest lap bonus point as consolation for his lost victory – before Hamilton pumped in an even faster time on the final lap on old hards.

Hamilton’s last-gasp fastest lap meant he extended his points lead to 39.

Behind the Silver Arrows drivers, Leclerc finished third after a thrilling British Grand Prix.

Leclerc held the place early on but had to withstand enormous pressure from Verstappen, who then managed to just jump him in the pitlane as they stopped at the same time.

However, Leclerc quickly retook the place when Verstappen ran wide at The Loop immediately after exiting the pits, before falling back behind after Ferrari opted not to stop him again as soon as the safety car was deployed.

Red Bull reacted quicker and stopped Verstappen swiftly, and he rejoined fifth – behind Vettel and the sister Red Bull of Pierre Gasly, who pit earlier and stuck to a one-stop.

Ferrari’s call to stop Leclerc a lap later dropped him to sixth, and when the race resumed he attacked Verstappen immediately.

Their wheel-to-wheel fight recommenced and peaked when Leclerc attacked on the outside into the final complex of corners just before mid-distance.

They bumped wheels slightly when Leclerc had the inside for the right-hand penultimate turn, and Verstappen took to the run-off on the outside, keeping the position as he rejoined through the final corner.

Leclerc’s challenge faded after that unpenalised incident, while Verstappen passed Gasly for fourth and then caught and attacked Vettel for third.

Max nailed the Ferrari on the outside at Stowe on lap 37, but ran slightly wide and Sebastian tucked into his slipstream on the short run down to Vale – but positioned his Ferrari on the inside, with nowhere to go, and tried to switch back to the outside too late.

Vettel locked and crashed into the back of Verstappen’s car, pitching it airborne over a kerb and into the gravel as the Ferrari ended up facing the wrong way with its rear wheels in the gravel.

They both rejoined, but Verstappen was limited to fifth – fortunately not losing further positions – as Vettel dropped to the back.

Vettel’s elimination from the front allowed Carlos Sainz to take sixth for McLaren, fighting off Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault in a fierce best-of-the-rest fight.

Kimi Raikkonen executed a one-stop strategy to finish eighth, while Daniil Kvyat’s well-timed safety car pitstop allowed him to charge to ninth. Nico Hulkenberg completed the point scorers in tenth position.

The two Haas drivers joined Giovinazzi in retirement – Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen colliding on the first lap and both retiring as a result shortly afterwards.

So congratulations to Lewis Hamilton in achieving a record of six victories to become the most successful British driver winning at Silverstone. Sure, the safety car helped but this is racing. Taking the opportunities in the right moment.

As for the racing, that was pure quality at Silverstone. The battle between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen was a pure highlight.

British Grand Prix, race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 52 1h21m08.452s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 52 24.928s
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 52 30.117s
4 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda 52 34.692s
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 52 39.458s
6 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 52 53.639s
7 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 52 54.401s
8 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 52 1m05.540s
9 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 52 1m06.720s
10 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 52 1m12.733s
11 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 52 1m14.281s
12 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso-Honda 52 1m15.617s
13 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 52 1m21.086s
14 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 51 1 Lap
15 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 51 1 Lap
16 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 51 1 Lap
17 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 51 1 Lap
– Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 18 Spun off
– Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 9 Accident damage
– Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 6 Accident damage

Drivers’ standings:
1 Lewis Hamilton 223
2 Valtteri Bottas 184
3 Max Verstappen 136
4 Sebastian Vettel 123
5 Charles Leclerc 120
6 Pierre Gasly 55
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. 38
8 Kimi Raikkonen 25
9 Lando Norris 22
10 Daniel Ricciardo 22
11 Nico Hulkenberg 17
12 Kevin Magnussen 14
13 Sergio Perez 13
14 Daniil Kvyat 12
15 Alexander Albon 7
16 Lance Stroll 6
17 Romain Grosjean 2
18 Antonio Giovinazzi 1
19 George Russell 0
20 Robert Kubica 0

Constructors’ standings:
1 Mercedes 407
2 Ferrari 243
3 Red Bull-Honda 191
4 McLaren-Renault 60
5 Renault 39
6 Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 26
7 Racing Point-Mercedes 19
8 Toro Rosso-Honda 19
9 Haas-Ferrari 16
10 Williams-Mercedes 0

Bottas beats home crowd favourite Hamilton to Silverstone pole

Valtteri Bottas won the qualifying battle over his Mercedes Formula 1 teammate Lewis Hamilton to pole position for the British Grand Prix by six thousandths of a second.

Bottas set the pace on the first runs in Q3 at Silverstone, although Hamilton’s time was compromised by the rear stepping out at Brooklands, which meant he ran wide at the exit of the corner.

Although Bottas was unable to improve on his final run in Q3, Hamilton fell just short of grabbing pole in front of his home fans having not been able to match his first-sector pace from the first run.

Ferrari driver Charles Lerclerc was third quickest, within a tenth of Bottas, and a tenth of a second clear of Austrian Grand Prix winner Max Verstappen.

Leclerc looked a threat for pole position, but lost time to the Mercedes drivers in the final sector.

Pierre Gasly was fifth fastest after a strong run during practice, although was 0.314 seconds slower than his Red Bull teammate, while Sebastian Vettel was sixth after a tricky run in Q3 in the Ferrari, lapping six tenths off pole position.

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo was seventh fastest ahead of the McLaren of Lando Norris.

Alex Albon did well to reach Q3 in the Toro Rosso and ended up qualifying ninth, lapping 0.041 seconds quicker than the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg.

The Mercedes and Red Bull drivers will start the race on medium-compound Pirellis thanks to using that tyre to set their Q2 times, with the rest of the top ten qualifiers using softs.

Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi was quickest of those eliminated in Q2 after being bumped by Vettel at the end of the session.

Giovinazzi was 0.027 seconds of a second quicker than teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who ended up P12 ahead of McLaren driver Carlos Sainz, who failed to improve on his second Q2 run.

Haas driver Romain Grosjean was P14 ahead of the Racing Point of Sergio Perez, who also failed to improve on his second runs.

Kevin Magnussen was eliminated in Q1 and ended up P16 after being jumped by Perez, who was last driver to improve their time in the first segment of qualifying and outpaced the Haas driver by 0.013 seconds.

Magnussen ran through the gravel at the Luffield right-hander on his final lap while “trying to make up for something that wasn’t there”, so was unable to improve on his first-run time.

Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat failed to improve his lap time on his second set of softs, so ended up P17 after what he described over the radio as a “poor” lap on his final attempt.

Racing Point’s Lance Stroll was eliminated in Q1 for the tenth time in 2019 after running wide at the exit of Stowe and Club on his final lap and losing time.

George Russell won the intra-Williams battle for P19, lapping almost half-a-second faster than teammate Robert Kubica.

So congratulations to Valtteri Bottas in achieving his tenth career pole position in Formula 1. Beating the home crowd favourite is an upset and it will be fascinating to see Lewis Hamilton striking back in the race. Bring on the Silverstone action.

Qualifying positions, British Grand Prix:
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m25.093s
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m25.099s
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m25.172s
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1m25.276s
5 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda 1m25.590s
6 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m25.787s
7 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m26.182s
8 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1m26.224s
9 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso-Honda 1m26.345s
10 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m26.386s
11 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m26.519s
12 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m26.546s
13 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1m26.578s
14 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m26.757s
15 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1m26.928s
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m26.662s
17 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 1m26.721s
18 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1m26.762s
19 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1m27.789s
20 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 1m28.257s

Verstappen wins thrilling race at the Red Bull Ring

That was an epic Austrian Grand Prix as Max Verstappen takes victory from Charles Leclerc in an exciting race, scoring Honda its first win since returning to the sport.

Verstappen fell down to eighth on the opening lap but charged through the race order and caught Leclerc late on before winning a wheel-to-wheel battle to secure the victory.

However, his race-winning pass – which resulted in minor contact and pushed Leclerc to the run-off, denying Leclerc a first Formula 1 win – led to a post-race investigation from the stewards.

Leclerc finished second, with Valtteri Bottas third as Mercedes’ perfect win record at the start of 2019 has finally ended.

Leclerc led from pole position and despite being on a strategy his rivals felt was “risky” managed to keep the lead Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas at length throughout the Austrian Grand Prix.

He then held on to withstand a late assault from Verstappen, who fell from second to eighth on the opening lap but charged back to score Red Bull Racing’s best result of the season with Honda.

Leclerc maintained his pole advantage, aided by the anti-stall kicking in on Verstappen’s Red Bull and dropping the home favourite back to seventh at the first corner.

Verstappen then fell to eighth as teammate Pierre Gasly passed him around the outside at Turn 3, but he retook the position around the outside of the penultimate corner.

As Leclerc built a small lead over Bottas at the front, Sebastian Vettel and Verstappen worked their way up the order.

Vettel started ninth after an engine-related problem in qualifying but was up to fourth by lap six, and Verstappen had made it to fifth three laps later.

Despite being on harder tyres that Mercedes thought would be an advantage to Leclerc’s softs, Bottas was the first driver to pit on lap 21, with Vettel stopping the same lap.

Vettel lost a big amount of time because a radio problem for Ferrari’s mechanics meant they did not get the instruction he was pitting.

Leclerc covered Bottas’s stop one lap after his pursuer, releasing Lewis Hamilton into the race lead as the other Mercedes and Verstappen extended their opening stints.

Hamilton pitted on lap 30 after quickly losing a lot of time over the last couple of laps of his first stint thanks to front wing damage likely picked up when he ran wide over the sausage kerb at Turn 1 – now renamed as Lauda Kurve, in honour of Niki.

The time loss and lengthy stop to change his wing meant Hamilton rejoined eight seconds behind Vettel despite the Ferrari driver’s own slow stop, and when Verstappen pitted one lap later he rejoined ahead of Hamilton as well.

While Leclerc held a lead of around four seconds out front, Verstappen – 12.9 seconds off the lead in fourth after stopping – began his charge.

It took him 17 laps to chip away at Vettel’s deficit but once in DRS range he quickly mounted an attack.

Vettel repeatedly struggled to make the apex of the Turn 3 right-hander at the top of the hill and on lap 50 of 71 Verstappen took advantage with a good run out of the corner, and used DRS to get ahead into the braking zone and pass Vettel around the outside into Turn 4.

Once clear of the Ferrari, which immediately made a second stop for soft tyres and rejoined behind a muted Hamilton, Verstappen quickly caught Bottas.

Both Mercedes drivers’ pace was reduced because of temperature management, and Verstappen nailed Bottas for second on the run up to Turn 3 on lap 56 – having only just reported a brief loss of power.

That released him to try to catch Leclerc, six seconds up the road with 15 laps left.

By the time just five laps remained, Verstappen was on the Ferrari’s gearbox and attacked on the outside into Turn 3 and 4, but Leclerc just held on.

The next lap, Verstappen dived inside Leclerc with a brilliant move at Turn 3, but Leclerc just held on around the outside and was able to outdrag the Red Bull down to Turn 4.

With three laps ago Leclerc half covered the inside but Verstappen moved right to the edge of the track, forced Leclerc wide – and the two bumped wheels as Leclerc tried to hang on again on the outside.

Leclerc took to the run-off and complained over the radio, while Verstappen accused his rival of turning in on him.

Verstappen was told to get his head down and escape, which he did – crossing the finishing line almost three seconds clear.

However that incident between the two at Turn 3 is currently being investigated. Hopefully the race results will stand as this is motor racing.

Behind the top three, Vettel used his soft tyres to catch and overhaul Hamilton for fourth.

Championship leader Hamilton was limited to a muted fifth place, but only lost five points to teammate and title rival Bottas.

Lando Norris made up for his heartbreaking end to last week’s race in France by winning the best of the rest battle for McLaren in sixth.

He kept the second Red Bull of Pierre Gasly comfortably at bay to score the best result of his rookie season.

Carlos Sainz executed a long first stint to rise to eighth from the back of the grid, while Alfa Romeo duo Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi completed the point scorers – Giovinazzi finally banking his first Formula 1 point in the process.

Austrian Grand Prix, race results:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 71 1h22m01.822s
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 71 2.724s
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 71 18.960s
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 71 19.610s
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 71 22.805s
6 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 70 1 Lap
7 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda 70 1 Lap
8 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 70 1 Lap
9 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 70 1 Lap
10 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 70 1 Lap
11 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 70 1 Lap
12 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 70 1 Lap
13 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 70 1 Lap
14 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 70 1 Lap
15 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso-Honda 70 1 Lap
16 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 70 1 Lap
17 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 70 1 Lap
18 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 69 2 Laps
19 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 69 2 Laps
20 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 68 3 Laps

Drivers’ standings:
1 Lewis Hamilton 197
2 Valtteri Bottas 166
3 Max Verstappen 126
4 Sebastian Vettel 123
5 Charles Leclerc 105
6 Pierre Gasly 43
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. 30
8 Lando Norris 22
9 Kimi Raikkonen 21
10 Daniel Ricciardo 16
11 Nico Hulkenberg 16
12 Kevin Magnussen 14
13 Sergio Perez 13
14 Daniil Kvyat 10
15 Alexander Albon 7
16 Lance Stroll 6
17 Romain Grosjean 2
18 Antonio Giovinazzi 1
19 George Russell 0
20 Robert Kubica 0

Constructors’ standings:
1 Mercedes 363
2 Ferrari 228
3 Red Bull-Honda 169
4 McLaren-Renault 52
5 Renault 32
6 Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 22
7 Racing Point-Mercedes 19
8 Toro Rosso-Honda 17
9 Haas-Ferrari 16
10 Williams-Mercedes 0

Leclerc scores pole position at the Red Bull Ring

Charles Leclerc achieved his second Formula 1 pole position at the Red Bull Ring for Ferrari, while teammate Sebastian Vettel was hit by a mechanical issue in Q3.

The rising Ferrari star was the class of the field throughout the Austrian Grand Prix qualifying, setting two laps significant enough for pole position in Q3.

Leclerc’s took provisional pole with a time of one minute, 03.208 seconds on his first run, then set the fastest times of all in the second and third sectors to improve to a one minute, 03.003 seconds.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who complained of not being strong enough on the straights, moved from fourth to second on his final lap – ending up 0.259 seconds slower.

Hamilton will also be investigated after the session for potentially impeding Kimi Raikkonen at Turn 3 during Q1.

If the race stewards do penalised the championship leader, then this will be a major set back for Hamilton.

Max Verstappen was third fastest, 0.436 seconds down, ahead of Valtteri Bottas.

Both Mercedes drivers and Verstappen will start the race on medium-compound Pirellis having used those tyres to set their Q2 times, with the rest of the top ten using softs.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner explained the decision to use mediums, which he believes will be the best race strategy for his team.

“That soft won’t have the range and that puts a lot of stress on that last [stint] tyre,” said Horner.

“Ferrari generate their lap time differently, they go slower round the corners and faster down the straights, so they might feel confident that they can make that work because they don’t put as much heat into the tyres in the corners.”

Kevin Magnussen, who made Q3 despite locking up and running into the gravel at Turn 4 on his final Q2 lap, was fifth quickest – three hundredths faster than the McLaren of Lando Norris.

But the Haas driver has a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, so will lose his third-row starting slot.

Alfa Romeo duo Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi were seventh and eighth, while Pierre Gasly was only ninth for Red Bull after failing to improve on his second Q3 run.

Vettel was unable to take to the track in Q3 thanks to what Ferrari called a problem with the air pressure line to the engine, meaning he ended up P10.

Romain Grosjean was P11 after lapping 0.024 seconds slower than Haas teammate Magnussen in Q2.

Grosjean set two lap times separated by just one thousandth of a second on his second run, but it wasn’t enough to overhaul Magnussen.

Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg failed to improve on his second run in Q2 and ended up P11 thanks to being in the queue of cars slower by Magnussen’s Turn 4 off.

Hulkenberg also has a five-place grid penalty.

Toro Rosso driver Alex Albon was P13, but has to serve a back-of-the-grid penalty thanks to taking the ‘Spec 3’ Honda power unit and latest turbo charger.

Daniel Ricciardo only had one run in Q2 and ended up P14, ahead of the McLaren of Carlos Sainz.

Sainz did not set a serious time in Q2 as he also has a back-of-the-grid penalty thanks to engine component changes caused by switching to the ‘spec B’ Renault power unit.

Sergio Perez was the fastest of those eliminated in Q1 after jumping Racing Point teammate Lance Stroll at the end of Q1.

Perez lapped 0.043 seconds faster than Stroll, with the Racing Point driver briefly lifting himself out of the drop zone in the final minutes of Q1 before being shuffled back as others improved.

Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat was P18, half-a-second slower than Stroll, after traffic ruined what should have been his best lap.

Kvyat turned into Turn 9 and encountered George Russell – who was slow ahead of starting a lap and behind a queue of cars that included Albon – forcing him to run very wide as he passed.

The stewards will investigate the incident after the session, with Kvyat saying “I almost killed someone” over the radio after having to avoid the queue of cars.

George Russell was fastest of the two Williams drivers, three tenths ahead of teammate Robert Kubica, although both will move off the back row thanks to penalties for Albon and Sainz.

So grid penalties can affect the line up of the Austrian Grand Prix but for the quickest driver Charles Leclerc, this was an impressive result for the Scuderia Ferrari. Hopefully Leclerc can achieve that maiden victory come race day.

Austrian Grand Prix, qualifying positions:
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m03.003s
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m03.262s
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1m03.439s
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m03.537s
5 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1m04.099s
6 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m04.166s
7 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m04.179s
8 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda 1m04.199s
9 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari –
10 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m04.072s
11 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m04.490s
12 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m04.790s
13 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1m04.789s
14 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1m04.832s
15 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 1m05.324s
16 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1m05.904s
17 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m04.516s
18 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 1m06.206s
19 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso/Honda 1m04.665s
20 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1m13.601s

Hamilton and Mercedes masterclass in France

Defending Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton produced a masterclass performance at Circuit Paul Ricard, leading every lap and extending his championship advantage by 36 points.

Hamilton comfortably defeated his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas with Charles Leclerc completed the French Grand Prix podium for Ferrari, whose lead driver Sebastian Vettel is now 76 points behind Hamilton after finishing fifth position.

Vettel failed to make much progress from starting seventh on the grid, although a bonus point for fastest lap after making a late pitstop for fresh set of Pirelli provided one sign of hope.

Hamilton held the lead at the start and only edged clear by a small margin over the first half of the opening stint.

However, the longer the drivers eked out their medium tyres, the bigger Hamilton’s advantage became.

He was more than eight seconds clear when Bottas pitted first for the hard tyres on lap 23.

Hamilton stayed out an extra lap, Mercedes having extended their drivers’ stints to make sure they were far enough ahead of Vettel to rejoin ahead, as the Ferrari stayed out even longer.

After the pitstops, Hamilton stretched his advantage further and, after a brief back and forth battle with Bottas for fastest lap, the gap extended to 18 seconds by the chequered flag.

At least Bottas returned to the runner-up position for the first time in three races, although the damage is done by Hamilton’s fourth consecutive victory.

Behind the Silver Arrows, Leclerc hung onto Bottas’s tail in the first of the Ferraris.

Leclerc hounded Bottas to the flag, though always a few seconds adrift, as he scored his second podium finish in a row.

The Ferrari driver had to overcome a fierce first-lap challenge from Max Verstappen, after the two ran side-by-side down to Turn 3 for the first time.

Leclerc was boxed in by Bottas into Turn 2, which gave Verstappen momentum around the outside before Leclerc edged clear as they approached the next corner.

After that point, Verstappen gradually slipped back from Leclerc and his attentions turned to keep Vettel at bay.

Vettel closed to just three seconds behind in the first stint but after pitting several laps later than the Red Bull he rejoined 5.9 seconds adrift and drop away.

That gave Verstappen, who struggled with some lag on the throttle early on, some breathing space and meant Vettel had too much time to make up when he started to close in again in the final few laps.

Ferrari therefore pitted Vettel with two laps to the finish, getting a fresh set of soft tyres and released him to chase the fastest lap.

Vettel pumped in a one minute, 32.740 seconds on the final lap to steal the bonus point from Hamilton by just 0.024 seconds – after Hamilton had set a new fastest lap on the final lap as well.

Behind the Ferrari, McLaren won the best-of-the-rest battle with Carlos Sainz in sixth position.

Sainz jumped teammate Lando Norris on the opening lap when Norris found himself with nowhere to go at Turn 1 and had to back out, handing Sainz momentum and the position.

Norris did well to even finish after battling a hydraulics problem that got worse as the race progressed and presented braking and steering problems.

Lando ran seventh until the very last lap, when his problems became too much to overcome and he slipped behind Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault, the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg.

Ricciardo attacked the ailing Norris on the outside at the chicane but ran deep, so Norris squirted the throttle and tried to re-pass him through the second part of the corner but went too wide after Ricciardo squeezed him, and took to the run-off.

That triggered multiple cars running side-by-side as Raikkonen and Hulkenberg got in on the battle, with Ricciardo claiming seventh ahead of Raikkonen, Hulkenberg and the defeated Norris.

This was a late race drama in an otherwise dull French Grand Prix. The lack of action was a real issue but the performance by Mercedes must be applauded with this brilliant race result. Congratulations Lewis Hamilton in winning at Circuit Paul Ricard.

French Grand Prix, race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 53 1h24m31.198s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 53 18.056s
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 53 18.985s
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 53 34.905s
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 53 1m02.796s
6 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 53 1m35.462s
7 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 52 1 Lap
8 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 52 1 Lap
9 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 52 1 Lap
10 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 52 1 Lap
11 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda 52 1 Lap
12 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 52 1 Lap
13 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 52 1 Lap
14 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 52 1 Lap
15 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso-Honda 52 1 Lap
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 52 1 Lap
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 52 1 Lap
18 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 51 2 Laps
19 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 51 2 Laps
– Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 44 Retirement

Drivers’ championship:
1 Lewis Hamilton 187
2 Valtteri Bottas 151
3 Sebastian Vettel 111
4 Max Verstappen 100
5 Charles Leclerc 87
6 Pierre Gasly 36
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. 26
8 Daniel Ricciardo 22
9 Kimi Raikkonen 17
10 Kevin Magnussen 14
11 Nico Hulkenberg 14
12 Lando Norris 13
13 Sergio Perez 13
14 Daniil Kvyat 10
15 Alexander Albon 7
16 Lance Stroll 6
17 Romain Grosjean 2
18 Antonio Giovinazzi 0
19 George Russell 0
20 Robert Kubica 0

Constructors’ championship:
1 Mercedes 338
2 Ferrari 198
3 Red Bull-Honda 136
4 McLaren-Renault 39
5 Renault 36
6 Racing Point-Mercedes 19
7 Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 17
8 Toro Rosso-Honda 17
9 Haas-Ferrari 16
10 Williams-Mercedes 0

Hamilton scores 86th career pole in France

Defending Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton achieved his 86th career pole position in the sport with a fine qualifying result at Circuit Paul Ricard.

Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas had the edge initially after setting the timesheets in both Q1 and Q2, but Hamilton stepped up a gear with a run to the top spot on the first runs in Q3 with a lap of one minute, 28.448 seconds.

Hamilton then improved to a one minute, 28.319 seconds on his second lap to secure pole position, and set the fastest times of all in each of the three sectors across his two laps.

Bottas had a scruffy lap and was unable to improve on his first run pace, meaning he ended up 0.286 seconds behind Hamilton.

Charles Leclerc was the lead Ferrari, 0.646 seconds off the pace in third and yet well ahead of fourth-placed Max Verstappen.

The Red Bull driver struggled during qualifying, ending up more than four tenths slower than Leclerc and only 0.009 seconds quicker than the McLaren of Lando Norris.

Carlos Sainz Jr was sixth fastest, just over a tenth slower than his teammate, to signal McLaren’s strong performance throughout practice and qualifying.

This was a fine qualifying performance for McLaren. Two drivers in the top 6. Kudos to Norris and Sainz with this excellent result.

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel was only seventh, 1.480 seconds off the pace, having abandoned his first qualifying run.

Vettel reported a missed upshift gear change, and also had a moment at Turn 1 and a later off-track excursion on his first run, then was not able to string together a strong lap on his second set of soft tyres.

This was a disappointing result for the four-time champion. Seems Vettel is not in the right frame of mind considering the controversial moment in Canada and the constant media pressure.

Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo was eighth, just over a tenth slower than Vettel and ahead of Pierre Gasly.

Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi was P10, although his one attempt in Q3 did not go well after his late lap in Q2 allowed him to make the final stage of qualifying.

Eight of the top ten will start the race on mediums having used that tyre to set their Q2 times, the exceptions being Giovinazzi and Gasly – who both used softs.

Toro Rosso driver Alex Albon was bumped down to P11 at the end of Q2 by Gasly, who nicked the final Q3 slot by just four-hundredths of a second.

Kimi Raikkonen was unable to match teammate Giovinazzi’s late-session pace and ended up P12, just ahead of Nico Hulkenberg – who attempted to make it through to the top ten shootout using mediums on his second run.

Racing Point’s Sergio Perez was P14, seven-tenths faster than the Haas of Kevin Magnussen.

Daniil Kvyat, who must start at the back thanks to grid penalties for taking Honda’s ‘Spec 3’ turbocharger and V6 – on top of other engine component offences – was fastest of those eliminated in Q1.

Kvyat was bumped in the final moments of the session by Toro Rosso teammate Albon, who is not running the latest-spec components.

Haas driver Romain Grosjean was knocked into the dropzone by improvements from Perez and Ricciardo, with his attempt to escape by the rear stepping out in the chicane and spitting him off track.

Lance Stroll continued this season’s run of Q1 eliminations in P18 place having jumped back ahead of the Williams of George Russell on his final attempt.

Russell is carrying two 10-place grid penalties after the Williams team was forced to change his Mercedes control electronics and energy store following an electrical power loss that restricted him to four laps in final practice.

He qualified P19 after moving onto his third control electronics and energy store of the season, having already changed both following his bizarre drain strike during Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice.

Russell outpaced team-mate Robert Kubica by 0.416 seconds in the battle for P19, but Kubica is set to start P18 thanks to penalties for others.

So congratulations to Lewis Hamilton with the French Grand Prix qualifying result. Another Mercedes front row with Valtteri Bottas joining his Silver Arrows colleague at the front. Going to be fascinating race in terms of the championship.

French Grand Prix qualifying results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m28.319s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m28.605s
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m28.965s
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1m29.409s
5 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1m29.418s
6 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1m29.522s
7 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m29.799s
8 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m29.918s
9 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda 1m30.184s
10 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m33.420s
11 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso-Honda 1m30.461s
12 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m30.533s
13 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m30.544s
14 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1m30.738s
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m31.440s
16 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m31.626s
17 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1m31.726s
18 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1m32.789s
19 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 1m33.205s
20 Daniil Kvyat Toro RossopHonda 1m31.564s