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French F1 Grand Prix 2019 Qualifying: Results, Times from Friday's Practice

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistJune 21, 2019

LE CASTELLET, FRANCE - JUNE 21: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W10 on track during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of France at Circuit Paul Ricard on June 21, 2019 in Le Castellet, France. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Valtteri Bottas topped second practice at the Formula One French Grand Prix on Friday, as Mercedes dominated at the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit.

Bottas was 0.424 seconds quicker than his team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the second session, with Ferrari's Charles LeClerc in third.

FP2 wasn't straightforward for Hamilton though, as he spun off the circuit and was then called into the garage, where a misfire was discovered on his car. Despite this issue, he was able to get back out on track and maintain a strong pace late on.

Earlier in the day, Hamilton was fastest ahead of Bottas in FP1, with LeClerc again the best of the rest.

Read on for a recap of the action from France, with Mercedes again looking like the team to beat.

  

FP2 Recap

Here are the standings at the end of second practice:

Formula 1 @F1

Bottas beats Hamilton to top spot in second practice by almost half-a-second And those McLarens were looking 👌 #F1 #FrenchGP https://t.co/tvI1owbSj4

Having been in total control during the morning runs, Hamilton wasn't quite as serene in FP2, as the world champion lost balance in his Mercedes and spun off.

The Briton's spin left its mark on the circuit, while he also took out a track-side bollard after making the mistake:

Formula 1 @F1

Lewis Hamilton making his own stripes at Paul Ricard 👀 He's still in P2 as we pass halfway in second practice #F1 #FrenchGP 🇫🇷 https://t.co/E8tLKv99DP

Formula 1 @F1

New bollard = ordered 👀💥 #F1 #FrenchGP 🇫🇷 https://t.co/RBgi58TABj

Per F1 journalist Chris Medland, Hamilton is also set to face a steward's investigation following a tangle with Max Verstappen:

Chris Medland @ChrisMedlandF1

Hamilton had an off and then rejoined, with Verstappen passing him around the outside into Turn 5 but going wide. Hamilton raised a hand in apology, but the stewards will investigate it after the session #F1 #FrenchGP

Hamilton came into the pits after making that mistake and didn't emerge immediately, prompting some concerns among the Mercedes fans. However, the team said the work being done on his car was precautionary:

Mercedes-AMG F1 @MercedesAMGF1

UPDATE: The boys in the garage detected a misfire on Lewis’ car after the spin. The car was checked for damage and all was resolved. LH back out now and still in P2! 👌 #FrenchGP https://t.co/TuCxKdJi6Y

While Hamilton was having an inconsistent afternoon, Bottas was enjoying being out on track in the France sunshine.

Having trailed his team-mate in FP1, he emerged rejuvenated in the afternoon and was the fastest man in all three sectors of the track. His time of one minute, 30.937 seconds was comfortably the quickest of the day.

The Pirelli Motorsport account detailed just how much quicker the drivers were going when compared to 12 months ago:

Pirelli Motorsport @pirellisport

Times are looking quicker now in warmer temperatures and with track rubbered in. Top time halfway through #FP2 is from @ValtteriBottas: 1m30.937s. Last year’s best #FP2 time was 1m32.539s #FrenchGP

While Ferrari upped their pace in the afternoon, at this point they look a long way off challenging for pole on Saturday or the win on Sunday.

  

FP1 Recap

Here are the full timings from the session:

Formula 1 @F1

FP1 at Paul Ricard = DONE ✅ And it's @LewisHamilton who topped the time sheets ⏱️ #F1 #FrenchGP 🇫🇷 https://t.co/mUkdLjqI1W

Mercedes were dominant from the off in the south of France on Friday as Bottas set the benchmark in the early stages.

A battle between the Finn and Hamilton saw them trade places at the top of the timesheets, and the Englishman eventually prevailed:

Formula 1 @F1

Pushing his team-mate hard for P1, a big lock up for Bottas There is just 0.099s between him and Hamilton (P1) #F1 #FrenchGP 🇫🇷 https://t.co/M6dV56HGwf

Ferrari's drivers had a mixed session. After plenty of early running, during which Vettel and Leclerc complained over the radio about their soft tyres, they both returned to the garage for a lengthy period.

As a result, they slipped down into the bottom half of the standings as the session ticked into its final minutes:

Scuderia Ferrari @ScuderiaFerrari

#Seb5 and #Charles16 rejoining the track action after some changes. Last 15 minutes into #FP1. #FrenchGP 🇫🇷

On returning to the track, though, Leclerc leapt straight into third, while Vettel took fifth after enduring some problems in his first lap back on track.

There was no such luck for Frenchman Romain Grosjean in the Haas, who only managed nine laps before a water leak ended his session prematurely.

Meanwhile, Red Bull's Pierre Gasly spun late on at Turn 4:

Formula 1 @F1

"Er - there's a sideways Red Bull on the track ahead, boss" 🤔 #F1 #FranceGP 🇫🇷 https://t.co/6yKO15bqBC

He eventually finished sixth fastest, two places below his team-mate Max Verstappen.