QUALIFYING LIVE – 2018 French Grand Prix
Circuit: Paul Ricard
From sunshine, it’s switched to rain and during FP3, we didn’t have a lot of running from cars however the McLaren of Fernando Alonso did in fact go out onto the track, despite his hectic work schedule.
Now, as we get ready for Qualifying – the weather has changed and it seems to be getting brighter with the sun trying to peek through the clouds.
With Lewis Hamilton setting the fastest lap times in both of the practice sessions yesterday, it looks like it’s going to be a weekend for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas team however, we know that Ferrari can also push, when needed, so it’s going to be a great qualifying session.
Toto Wolff on the French GP: “Ferrari is always holding back on Friday and so far, it looks like it’s going to be between the three teams (Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull), we have looked at the car following Montreal and when you a trying to push your performance, you are always nervous and cautious.”
“I like the weekend and we are pushing the team and being competitive and it’s a weekend that we are looking forward to. I wake up every day and I’m happy as I love competition.”
Vettel: “If you look at the big picture, we have won a few races this season and it’s not been bad at all. We have a competitive car and myself and the team, we are developing and moving forward to each race as we should.”
Hamilton: “Losing the lead in the championship isn’t a problem, not performing to my potential – that’s the problem. Montreal was a very average weekend and we have to make sure that we’re in tip top shape.”
As mentioned, the weather is getting brighter compared to the morning. There are a few rumours about the race tomorrow with the potential for rain and even thunderstorms but will bring you updates on the weather as we know.
Drivers are now making their way to the garage and getting ready for the start of Qualifying. There’s no rain now and there’s no rain predicted for Qualifying.
Q1 – QUALIFYING LIVE – 2018 French Grand Prix
Tyre Options: Soft – Supersoft – Ultrasoft
The green light is on and the pit-lane is open. Drivers are now making their way out onto the track.
It’s Raikkonen who’s currently leading the pack with Hamilton and Bottas right behind. Vettel is currently in P5 with the Red Bull of Max Verstappen in the mix.
Verstappen now goes fastest!
Fernando Alonso down in P17 – it’s not looking great for him at the moment.
Hamilton now sets the fastest lap time – he had a fast sector in Sector 5.
Vettel down in P6, he’s not looking as strong as his team-mate. Does he have an issues or was he held up by traffic?
Bottas suffering with a major lock-up but despite this being a new track, everyone seems to be getting to grips with the track.
Stroll loses grip and goes off-track at speed saying “I went off quite aggressively.” That wasn’t a simple move with the car going over kerbs.
Hamilton remains in the lead at the moment with Verstappen right behind.
Knock Out Zone – Q1
Drivers are now coming back to the pits and getting ready for the Q2 – both McLarens are out!
Q2 – QUALIFYING LIVE – 2018 French Grand Prix
Drivers are now getting ready to go out on track – Red Bull’s are the first cars waiting to go out on track first.
With weather conditions changing and a few reports of some rain on track, drivers are waiting – including Ferrari.
Off they go with Verstappen confirming a bit of rain – “Yeah, it’s drizzling.”
Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne walking down the pit-lane.
The weather has started to change quite a bit now.
Hamilton having issues about padding – talking to his team through team radio.
The track has started to lose grip due to the weather conditions changing. It’s Hamilton, Bottas and Raikkonen who are making up the top 3 drivers.
Bottas now suffering another lock up.
For Ferrari fans, something isn’t right on Vettel’s car by the looks of it – his team-mate, Raikkonen, is up in P3 and he’s down in P8!
Verstappen now goes fourth fastest with his team-mate, Verstappen, in P5.
Vettel now pushes and goes second fastest – Hamilton still in the lead.
Team to Ricciardo: “Any change in the weather?”
Ricciardo: “Still light rain”
The Red Bull Racing team have brought out the binoculars! Seriously, they have! 🙂
Drivers are now in the pits and getting ready for the final run in Q2.
There’s now less around 3 minutes to go – drivers are still in the garage and waiting to make their way out onto the track again.
Hamilton makes his way back out onto the track – he’s behind his team-mate. The final car to make his way onto the grid is Carlos Sainz.
It’s Hamilton, Vettel and Raikkonen who are now making up the top 3.
Leclerc makes it through to Q3! A great result for the team and another great result for Leclerc.
Knock Out Zone – Q2
Drivers are now coming back into the pits – Hamilton already in the garage and getting ready for Q3.
Q3 – QUALIFYING LIVE – 2018 French Grand Prix
The weather seems to be changing again – it looks like the clouds have started to gather!
Fernando Alonso: “Nothing went wrong, it’s just the performance and this is where we are. We predicted to be in between P14 and P15 and this is where we are. The results on Sunday always make us happy and optimistic but we have an average position on Saturday. The level of competitiveness isn’t where we want to be – it’s not a surprise but we need to keep working and tomorrow is another chance.”
Stoffel Vandoorne: “There’s nothing wrong with the balance of the car – we just lack a lot of pace. We have lacked pace since the start of the season and there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes and hope that things will turn around.”
Drivers are now getting ready – it’s Ferrari who are now waiting at the end of the pit-lane with Sebastian Vettel waiting for the green light to go out!
Q3 is now under way!
The rain has just started again which is why drivers all want to get out on track and do their best, just in case the weather gets worse…
Drivers are pushing and Mercedes are right behind Ferrari – putting the pressure on them.
Team to Raikkonen: “Rain is decreasing, rain is decreasing.”
Hamilton sets the fastest lap time again – with Bottas and Vettel right behind.
Grosjean goes off-track! The session has been red-flagged!
The session has now resumed with around 6 minutes to go and cars are making their way back out onto the track following the accident for Grosjean.
Bottas and Hamilton now comes out onto the track.
Vettel goes off-track slightly, losing time on this lap which could mean that won’t claim pole….
Hamilton on POLE for the 2018 French Grand Prix.
It’s Hamilton, Bottas, Vettel, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Sainz, Leclerc, Magnussen, Grosjean.
Hamilton: “The weather’s been OK, it’s been much better throughout the week. Q3 wasn’t spectacular – it’s not that easy in Qualifying. Here in France we have a great crowd and it’s great to be here at Paul Ricard and I want to thank all the guys and my team for all the hard work.”
Bottas: “We didn’t do any running in FP3 and a 1 – 2 for us is a great result. The team has done an amazing job and hopefully tomorrow we can prove that everything will go well.”
Vettel: “It’s a difficult one to get the right balance – I tried to push everything but looking back, I pushed too hard and I lost time rather than gaining time. I knew that with an amazing time we may have a chance but we didn’t. It was a good session and hopefully tomorrow we will have a good race as we have a competitive car.”
There’s lots more on the way this evening so check back for all the latest!