Lewis Hamilton qualified in second place at the French Grand Prix, to see himself line up alongside championship rival Max Verstappen who stormed to pole.
Hamilton has looked close to Verstappen all weekend, however he has always been a couple tenths behind, the story was the same for qualifying with Hamilton missing out on pole by just over two-tenths of a second.
Hamilton has made several balance changes since Friday, meaning that his true race pace is unknown going into Sunday, where the weather is also another unknown with rain forecast for the race.
The 15,000 fans in attendance are surely in for a treat on Sunday, where Hamilton will look to regain the championship lead.
“It’s great to see the fans here and it warms my heart to see people coming together finally after this difficult period for us all. It’s been a really hard weekend trying to get the car into a happy place and you wouldn’t believe all of the changes I’ve made since FP1. Congratulations to Max, he did a great job today.
“On long run pace I think the Red Bulls were a tenth or two quicker than us in FP2 but my car is in a much different place now so I’m just going to stay hopeful and do everything that I can tomorrow. Obviously in second you’ve got a fighting chance down to Turn 1 and there’s going to be some interesting strategy calls tomorrow. Maybe it’ll rain so we’ll potentially get to see the rain masters do their thing!
“We’re loving the battle so we’re just going to keep pushing, keep fighting, and giving it everything.“
“We are definitely fighting for the win tomorrow” – Bottas
For Valtteri Bottas it has been a much better weekend, the Finnish driver has been on it all weekend at a circuit which he tends to perform well at. The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver lines up in third for the race on Sunday, importantly ahead of Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Pérez.
Bottas is aware that it is set to be a challenging race, but is going all out to fight for the win.
“It’s been a strong weekend, for sure a lot better than a couple weeks ago and I was hoping to fight for the pole. The last run in Q3 felt good so I didn’t feel like there was much more lap time to make up, I think Red Bull had the edge in a straight line here which made the difference.
“We are definitely fighting for the win tomorrow, we’re between the two Red Bulls with two cars against one so on strategy, we can be smart and bring the challenge to them. Nothing is going to come easy but we’re ready for the challenge tomorrow.”