French GP F1 practice: Lewis Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2 in FP1

Lewis Hamilton set the pace in first practice for Formula 1's returning French Grand Prix, as the opening session was ended early by a fiery crash for Marcus Ericsson

French GP F1 practice: Lewis Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2 in FP1

Hamilton edged Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas by just over a tenth at Paul Ricard, with Daniel Ricciardo third for Red Bull and the Ferraris considerably off the pace.

A session filled with mistakes was ended a couple of minutes early when Ericsson suffered a heavy shunt at Turn 11.

The rear of his Sauber seemed to snap away as the Swede downshifted for the looping right-hander, and he slid across the run-off before slamming into the wall.

It sparked a fire on the right-hand side of the engine, and Ericsson was able to get out of the car before marshals arrived to extinguish the flames.

That was the most dramatic incident in an error-ridden opening practice.

Brendon Hartley, Kimi Raikkonen and Stoffel Vandoorne all had early spins at Turn 6, a long right-hander with a big kerb on the inside, apparently victims of changing wind direction.

Ericsson had his first moment when he lost the rear of his car through the penultimate corner Turn 14, the long left-hander that tightens before an acute final corner leading onto the main straight.

His team-mate Charles Leclerc came to a halt sideways after half-spinning through Turn 1 moments later.

Hamilton did not spin in the opening hour but did have a bumpy, dusty off-track moment on the entry to the Mistral chicane on the two-part back straight.

He caught a "dangerously slow" Vandoorne while running at full speed and had to take to the plentiful run-off area in avoidance, while the Belgian blamed his McLaren team for not updating him on traffic.

Ricciardo led at the halfway stage, before Bottas used a new set of ultrasofts to first close to 0.030s behind then move ahead by 0.010s a 1m32.566s.

He was then displaced by Hamilton, who settled into top spot on a 1m32.273s before improving marginally again to a 1m32.231s.

Ricciardo was shuffled to third but finished comfortably clear of the two Ferraris, with Raikkonen half a second slower than the Australian.

Vettel only just managed to lap within a second of Hamilton's best to finish fifth, and was barely a tenth quicker than the Haas of Romain Grosjean.

Max Verstappen spent most of the first hour of the session in the garage but emerged in the final 30 minutes to get himself into ninth.

A succession of late improvements then lifted him to seventh, ahead of Pierre Gasly, who edged Force India's Sergio Perez for seventh.

Gasly is being investigated for using one set of tyres beyond the 40-minute limit. Toro Rosso blamed it on a loss of communication to his car, which stopped it being able to get Gasly to pit in time.

Kevin Magnussen completed the top 10, having survived a near-miss with Perez when they almost tripped over one another when the Haas was on a slow lap.

Mistakes continued in the second half of the session, with Esteban Ocon just missing the barrier after sliding off-track at Turn 6.

Leclerc also had another incident in the second-half, this time going off track at Turn 8, before Ericsson suffered his off with greater consequences.

FP1 times

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m32.231s - 25
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m32.371s 0.140s 29
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m32.527s 0.296s 25
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m33.003s 0.772s 23
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m33.172s 0.941s 19
6 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m33.318s 1.087s 22
7 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m33.331s 1.100s 15
8 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1m33.685s 1.454s 23
9 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m33.719s 1.488s 26
10 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m34.108s 1.877s 23
11 Carlos Sainz Jr. Renault 1m34.258s 2.027s 25
12 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m34.484s 2.253s 14
13 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 1m34.513s 2.282s 21
14 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m34.592s 2.361s 21
15 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 1m34.664s 2.433s 25
16 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 1m34.862s 2.631s 20
17 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1m34.881s 2.650s 28
18 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m34.993s 2.762s 24
19 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 1m35.021s 2.790s 24
20 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 1m35.105s 2.874s 25


shares
comments
Max Verstappen excited by bespoke Honda F1 engine design prospect
Previous article

Max Verstappen excited by bespoke Honda F1 engine design prospect

Next article

Why Ferrari must avoid Barcelona repeat

Why Ferrari must avoid Barcelona repeat
How Ferrari’s Monaco headache became its Silverstone migraine Plus

How Ferrari’s Monaco headache became its Silverstone migraine

OPINION: Ferrari won the British Grand Prix with Carlos Sainz, but it ultimately cost Charles Leclerc a chance to make a bigger dent in Max Verstappen's title lead by leaving the Monegasque out on old tyres towards the end. Like Monaco, indecision over strategy proved to be the Scuderia's biggest issue - and if the team doesn't reflect, the headache can only intensify

The five factors behind Sainz winning a British GP he’d twice lost Plus

The five factors behind Sainz winning a British GP he’d twice lost

Formula 1 has a newest race winner, in a grand prix the victor appeared to have lost twice, only to charge back to headline a sensational and dramatic British Grand Prix. From a massive start crash to a late sprint finish, here’s how five factors saw Carlos Sainz take his maiden grand prix win

Formula 1
Jul 4, 2022
Why there was no case to answer in Aston’s latest F1 copycat saga Plus

Why there was no case to answer in Aston’s latest F1 copycat saga

The appearance of a revised Aston Martin in Spain caused controversy but PAT SYMONDS explains why the FIA investigation found the Silverstone team had no case to answer

Formula 1
Jul 3, 2022
Why it's Red Bull that really leads a three-way fight so far at Silverstone Plus

Why it's Red Bull that really leads a three-way fight so far at Silverstone

After a slow start to Friday at Silverstone, all the Formula 1 teams had to effectively cram in a day’s worth of practice into one hour. But there was still plenty to learn and while Ferrari topped the times, a three-way battle is brewing ahead of the British Grand Prix

Formula 1
Jul 2, 2022
Why the future is bright for the British GP Plus

Why the future is bright for the British GP

It wasn’t so long ago the situation looked bleak at Silverstone with the future of the British Grand Prix under threat. But a transformation has seen it restored to one of the most important races on the Formula 1 calendar, with bigger and better to come

Formula 1
Jul 1, 2022
Could mixed fortunes for F1's leading Brits turn around at Silverstone? Plus

Could mixed fortunes for F1's leading Brits turn around at Silverstone?

For the first time in many years, none of the local racers starts among the favourites for the British Grand Prix. But George Russell, Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris could have reasons for optimism

Formula 1
Jun 30, 2022
Verstappen exclusive: Why F1’s champion isn’t fazed by Silverstone return Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why F1’s champion isn’t fazed by Silverstone return

Max Verstappen is the world’s number one racing driver… and he’s determined to keep it that way. Speaking exclusively to GP Racing's OLEG KARPOV, the Red Bull driver explains why he’s relishing the 2022 championship battle with Charles Leclerc – and why he’s not worried about returning to Silverstone, the scene of the biggest accident of his career last year

Formula 1
Jun 30, 2022
Why Red Bull’s RB17 hypercar can help its F1 team Plus

Why Red Bull’s RB17 hypercar can help its F1 team

On Tuesday, Red Bull laid out its plans to develop and build a new hypercar - the RB17 - penned by Adrian Newey. As the project itself sates Newey as a creative outlet, it also offers Red Bull's Formula 1 team a number of new and exciting avenues to pursue

Formula 1
Jun 29, 2022