Lewis Hamilton defends Vettel's error-prone record after crash in France


Hamilton, now 14 points ahead of Vettel, delayed his televised post-race media call for a handful of minutes after he said the lighting was too intense.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain sits in his vehicle in the pits during qualifying at the Paul Ricard racetrack, in Le Castellet, southern France, Saturday, June 23.

The Mercedes pair is poised for another one-two victory it achieved after starting from the front row in Barcelona last month.

The four-time world champion said he will try to do two things at once - prepare for the race and support England when they play Panama.

The result in France leaves Bottas 53 points off teammate Lewis Hamilton and follows a series of missed opportunities, including a late retirement from the lead in Baku.

Sitting to Hamilton's right, he jovially said: "Next time you see Seb you should ask him to change his style".

"Really excited to be back for the first grand prix at Paul Ricard in a long, long time". "That is going to be the story of the season".

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It was the third pole of the season for the 33-year-old Hamilton.

"We're out there putting the cars as far beyond the edge as we can in the safest manner". I remember the last race at Paul Ricard in 1990, but I never got the chance to compete.

Hamilton, armed with his new Mercedes engine, has been in emphatic form in France, and after topping both practice sessions on Friday, sticking his Mercedes on pole, and then nailing the start, his win never appeared in doubt.

Raikkonen closed in on Ricciardo with seven laps to go and after some unsuccessful attacks, finally managed to pass the Red Bull driver into the turn 8 chicane.

Charles LeClerc was the story of this session as he advanced to Q3 for the first time in his career, a respectable feat for the rookie Ferrari junior. The incident left Bottas with a punctured left-rear tyre and Vettel with a damaged front wing and a five-second time penalty.

The biggest loser from qualifying was Romain Grosjean, who lost control and put the nose of his Haas into the barrier after having made the cut for the 10 fastest drivers.

Two-time champion Fernando Alonso was 16th and McLaren team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne 18th, sandwiching Brendon Hartley in his Toro Rosso.