Hamilton: 75th career pole was only so-so

Hope Soto
June 24, 2018

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.

Hamilton also had a close call when forced to swerve off course to avoid ramming a slow-going Stoffel Vandoorne and slalomed around two rows of bollards before returning to the flow.

"We have all pulled together and done a great job in putting the vehicle where we need it, for both Valtteri and I", Hamilton said.

"There's a couple of places for example on the back straight where you're trying to find out where the corner is and it's really hard to see". "It's really, really great to have this result, and a one-two".

Mercedes performed a late U-turn on a decision to unleash their revised power unit at the last round in Canada which contributed to Hamilton finishing only fifth and losing his championship lead to Sebastian Vettel.

The British driver has put himself into position to boost his title defence if he can continue the dominant driving he has shown in the past two days at the track just inland from the Cote d'Azur.

"We've introduced new spec power units for France", Mercedes technical director James Allison said. "It would have definitely helped us in Montreal". "We have a good vehicle".

"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".

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Red Bull took 4th and 5th place with Max Verstappen going almost 2 tenths quicker than his team mate Daniel Ricciardo and Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen took 6th place on the grid.

Carlos Sainz Jr. spearheaded the midfield battle for Renault as he took seventh, as Charles Leclerc again starred for Sauber, making it through to Q3, where he placed eighth.

Heavy rain kept cars mostly in their garages during Saturday's final practice, when Bottas topped the timesheet.

The pole, in a time of one minute 30.029 seconds, was his third of the year and pushed his Formula One record to 75.

Fernando Alonso, victor of the 24 Hour Le Mans last week, failed to get out of the first qualifying section, which culls the slowest five drivers, along with McLaren partner Stoffel Vandoorne and both Williams cars.

Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley, one of those who did not set a lap time, had little incentive after being told he will start at the back of the grid after a change of power unit elements.

Hamilton was pleased to get the new specification too, but said he "didn't feel relief" when the team opted to fit it ahead of Friday's practice running.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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