Lewis Hamilton lead, in his Mercedes, from pole position to put him back on top of the championship standings, as Formula 1 returned to France at the Circuit Paul Ricard.
Hamilton set the pace in qualifying, finishing just a tenth of a second ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas, a record seventy-fifth career pole-position for Lewis, Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari lined up third while the Red Bull’s of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo claimed fourth and fifth. Charles Leclerc became the first Sauber driver to make it in to Q3 for three years, grabbing eighth position in the Alfa Romeo powered machine.
Hamilton got away cleanly, while Vettel, boxed in on the run in to turn one, collided with Bottas, forcing the Mercedes driver in to a spin and leaving the Finn to crawl back to the pits – penalised for collision with Bottas going in to turn one
A collision between Estaban Ocon [Force India] and Pierre Gasly [Torro Ross] left the two Frenchmen out of their home Grand Prix with less than half a lap completed, forcing the safety-car out early.
Hamilton meanwhile led a faultless race, finishing seven seconds ahead of Max Verstappen, Kimi Raikkonen claimed the final podium position after passing Ricciardo on lap forty-seven.
Sebastian Vettel would eventually come home fifth, Kevin Magnussen [Haas] was sixth, while Valterri Bottas clawed his way back to seventh. The Renaults of Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg were eighth and ninth, Charles Leclerc crossed the line tenth.
“It feels chilled, calm and collected, it’s a beautiful day, very very happy” exclaimed Lewis, “the car felt great, I was enjoying driving the track, if you watch my times I was constantly within a tenth, which I love.
“It’s a great feeling to be back up there, the last two races were particularly tough, it’s great to see everyone’s energy, drive and determination The car felt great this weekend, there’s nothing better than a happy driver in a happy car, it’s a winning formula”.
1. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport
2. Max Verstappen NED Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
3. Kimi Raikkonen FIN Scuderia Ferrari
4. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
5. Sebastian Vettel GER Scuderia Ferrari
6. Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas F1 Team
7. Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport
8. Carlos Sainz Jr. ESP Renault Sport Formula One Team
9. Nico Hulkenberg GER Renault Sport Formula One Team
10. Charles Leclerc MON Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team