LE CASTELLET, France – Lewis Hamilton earned his third Formula One pole of the season on Saturday at Circuit Paul Ricard, leading a front row lockout for Mercedes.
Hamilton set a track record with his best qualifying effort during Q3 with his fast lap of 1:28.319, moving him .286 of a second clear of his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in second.
“It’s not an easy track here and Valtteri’s been quick all weekend, so I’m really happy to have got the potential out of the car,” said Hamilton. “The team has done a fantastic job. I was chipping away and those last two laps were the ones. The wind picked up and it was quite gusty around the track.
“On that last lap, I was up nearly half a second but I just lost it in the second to last corner, the gust took the back end. But, I was still up on my previous best, which is the main thing. I’m just really happy, we’ve been working really hard and overall, it’s some great teamwork. It’s going to be another hot day tomorrow and the tires will be a challenge, but I’m excited to see how it will play out.”
Charles Leclerc continued his strong weekend for Ferrari, qualifying third. He was .646 of a second off the pace set by Hamilton and Mercedes. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen qualified fourth, with impressive youngster Lando Norris qualifying fifth for McLaren.
The second McLaren piloted by Carlos Sainz Jr. was sixth, followed by the shockingly slow Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel in seventh. Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull’s Pierre Gasley and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi completed the top-10.