Lewis Hamilton relieved but puzzled with pole

Lewis Hamilton relieved but puzzled with pole

Lewis Hamilton relieved but puzzled with pole

This allowed Max Verstappen to take third behind his Red Bull team mate ahead of the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and championship leader Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton won from pole after a race that had been in his hands from the moment he avoided contact on the first lap at turn one that cost his team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who was seventh, and Vettel.

"We have all pulled together and done a great job in putting the auto where we need it, for both Valtteri and I", Hamilton said. "It's another case o going from a bad weekend to a good weekend for Lewis Hamilton - and he tends to do that". He was controlling the pace.

"I think today sums my season, so far - it was really not my day", he said.

Will it be Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull on top as F1 returns to Paul Ricard for the first leg of an unprecedented triple header?

Hamilton secured pole position on Saturday, his third of the year.

Like Bottas, Vettel was forced to pit his damaged vehicle at the end of the first lap, but was also handed a five-second penalty to serve at his second stop of the race.

After fans had spent hours in traffic jams as they tried to reach the circuit on Friday, the grandstands still had many rows of empty seats - but even if they had been full there was nothing to watch.

"My start was too good and I ended up with nowhere to go".

"Before, on some tracks, we were dominant, and on others we struggled, but somehow the margins have become so tight this year", he said.

Mercedes Non-Executive Chairman Niki Lauda, however, was not impressed with Vettel nor his penalty, angrily calling it "an enormous mistake..."

"He destroyed the whole race for himself and Bottas". Bottas was in a collision with Vettel and went to the back of the field.

Two of the three French drivers retired on the spot, with Force India's Esteban Ocon and Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly the unlucky casualties.

Hamilton thought that Vettel got away lightly with a five-second penalty for causing his collision.

Rain threatened, but on lap 25, Verstappen pitted for fresh soft tyres, followed a lap later by Sainz. Ricciardo was not as lucky with his stop in the 29th lap as Vettel raced by him into fourth.

Ricciardo streaked past Vettel in the 34th lap and both were ahead of Raikkonen after his pitstop.

No prizes for predicting this goes to Daniel Ricciardo, more fantastic late braking as always into Turn 8 in Lap 10 to move past Carlos Sainz into the podium places - even more impressive if, as was reported, he was suffering some vehicle damage following the earlier debris on track.

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