Bottas tops times before storm halts final French GP practice

Tyler Owen
June 28, 2018

Lewis Hamilton will risk losing his focus on tomorrow's French Grand Prix by watching England play a World Cup match shortly before the race.

Defending four-time champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, who trails Vettel by a single point, was 12th, but did not attempt to clock a meaningful lap time.

If Hamilton is successful in Sunday's race, which starts at 6.10pm UAE time he will regain the championship lead from Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who starts third.

"But there's a long way to go and we'll keep approaching the rest of the season like we approached today".

Hamilton called his run "impeccable".

The four times champion's best time in the second was 1:32.539, with Mercedes finally giving him the updated engine after delaying its introduction in Canada two weekends ago due to a technical issue.

"We definitely needed it", Bottas said.

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"I don't think we maximised the potential of the auto in qualifying today".

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.

Heavy rain kept cars mostly in their garages during Saturday's final practice, when Bottas topped the timesheet. He told his team over the radio he was unharmed.

Alonso won the 24 Hours of Le Mans last weekend but failed to progress from Q1 and will start 16th, while Stoffel Vandoorne is back in 18th.

New Zealander Brendon Hartley spun his Toro Rosso to set the tone before Frenchman Esteban Ocon spun his Force India and both Saubers followed suit.

The return of the French GP after a decade-long absence is the first part of an unprecedented tripleheader of three races on consecutive weekends with the Austria and British events coming in quick succession.

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