Hamilton tops French GP First Practice as fiery Ericcsson crash ends session early


Lewis Hamilton - 2018 French Grand Prix - Paul Ricard
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport led the way in free practice one at the French Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton topping the time sheets.

The reigning world champion set a lap time of 1:32.231 in the first session around the Paul Ricard circuit ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who both are running a new power unit.

Aston Martin Red Bull Racing‘s Daniel Ricciardo was best of the rest with the third fastest time ahead of the two Scuderia Ferrari‘s, led by Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel.

Haas F1 Team‘s Romain Grosjean was the fastest Frenchman on track ahead of his home Grand Prix with the sixth fastest time, ahead of Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly, who is under investigation for running a set of tyres over the 40 minute mark.

Sergio Pérez placed ninth, with Kevin Magnussen rounding off the top ten in the first session at Paul Ricard.

Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team‘s Marcus Ericsson headed out on track first as the first session in France in over ten years begins. Multiple drivers headed out on track to get to grips with the new circuit for the 90 minute session.

Valtteri Bottas set the initial time with a 1:36.849 on the ultrasoft tyres, which he later improved into to a 1:35.797. His team-mate Lewis Hamilton set a time 1.232 seconds slower to go second fastest.

The first mistake of the weekend went to Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda‘s Brendon Hartley, spinning at the exit of turn 6 and going off track. The New Zealander was able to continue and resume his running.

Fifteen minutes into the session, it was Max Verstappen who led the field ahead of Bottas, Hamilton and Hartley.

Stoffel Vandoorne mirrored Hartley’s mistake at Turn 6, spinning twice and escaping a collision with the barriers. The McLaren F1 driver was able to get back going again.

Lewis Hamilton avoided a nasty accident with Stoffel Vandoorne as the Mercedes driver had to taking avoiding action to avoid hitting the back of the slow McLaren before the entry of the Turn 8 and 9 chicane.

Kimi Räikkönen joined the list of drivers going off at Turn 6 as he spun in his Ferrari. Engineers advised of a strong tailwind at the corner disrupting the cars and putting them in to a spin.

Pierre Gasly was alone on track as the session passed forty minutes, a time that teams will often come in to the pits to hand back a set of Pirelli tyres. The team suffered a radio issue at the time but will be under investigation for using a set of tyres over the 40 minute mark.

Esteban Ocon followed the trend of spinning at Turn 6, but managed to recover and get back to his preparation.

With 30 minutes of the session remaining, it was Valtteri Bottas who led ahead of Ricciardo, Räikkönen, Hamilton and Grosjean. Hamilton soon went on top of the timing sheets with a 1:32.273, 0.098 seconds faster than his team-mate.

The Mercedes pairing lead the way with Hamilton ahead of Bottas with less than ten minutes remaining.

Marcus Ericsson crashed heavily into the barrier at the exit of Turn 10 after losing the rear end of his car. Fire emerged from the rear of the Sauber from the impact, which caused the red flag to end the session early.

With the session finishing two minutes early, it was Mercedes who lead the way with Hamilton ahead of Bottas, Ricciardo and the two Ferrari’s of Räikkönen and Vettel.

PosNo.DriverTeamTimeGap
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:32.231
277Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:32.3710.140
33Daniel RicciardoAston Martin Red Bull Racing1:32.5270.296
47Kimi RaikkonnenScuderia Ferrari1:33.0030.772
55Sebastian VettelScuderia Ferrari1:33.1720.941
68Romain GrosjeanHaas-F1 Team1:33.3181.087
733Max VerstappenAston Martin Red Bull Racing1:33.3311.100
810Pierre GaslyScuderia Toro Rosso1:33.6851.454
911Sergio PerezSahara Force India F1 Team1:33.7191.488
1020Kevin MagnussenHaas-F1 Team1:34.1081.877
1155Carlos Sainz JrRenault Sport Formula One Team1:34.2582.027
1231Esteban OconSahara Force India F1 Team1:34.4842.253
1316Charles LeclercAlfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team1:34.5132.282
149Marcus EricssonAlfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team1:34.5922.361
1528Brendon HartleyScuderia Toro Rosso1:34.6642.433
1614Fernando AlonsoMcLaren Formula 1 Team1:34.8622.631
1718Lance StrollWilliams Martini Racing1:34.8812.650
1827Nico HulkenbergRenault Sport Formula One Team1:34.9932.762
192Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren Formula 1 Team1:35.0212.790
2035Sergey SirotkinWilliams Martini Racing1:35.1052.874