Triple-header, World Cup adds spice to French GP return

Triple-header, World Cup adds spice to French GP return

Lewis Hamilton put his Mercedes on pole position for the French Grand Prix as the crisis at his former team McLaren took another twist.

A wheel then came off Sergio Perez's Force India auto at speed on the Mistral straight in the late afternoon.

On a sweltering and sometimes breezy day in southern France, the defending four-time world champion - who trails rival Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari by a point in the title race - produced a best lap in one minute and 32.231 seconds to outpace the Finn by 0.140 seconds. Australian Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth for Red Bull. "But we won t really know its full potential until tomorrow when everyone gets to turn their engines up. It is such a attractive place", he added.

Hamilton also had a close call when forced to swerve off course to avoid ramming Stoffel Vandoorne and slalomed around two rows of bollards before returning to the flow.

Marcus Ericsson, who had a high-speed crash in his Sauber at the end of the morning session, was unable to run as his vehicle, which had burst into flames, was not repaired in time.

More news: New Details Emerge From Death Of Washington State QB Tyler Hilinski

The Swede worryingly remained in the vehicle before marshals arrived with an extinguisher and he clambered out from underneath the halo head-protection system. As we saw with the long queues in and out of the track for.

British cyclist Adam Yates rode the circuit before qualifying - he will contest this year's Tour de France - Lance Stroll loved his time in the rain during a wet final practice. "The wind was quite an issue at the beginning of the session, but then it calmed down and it all started to come together".

"The auto is quick but I wasn't able to be quick with the vehicle today, it's as simple as that", Vettel said.

There was gloom at McLaren, with last weekend's Le Mans 24 Hours victor and double world champion Fernando Alonso only 16th. Another driver on somewhat of a high is Fernando Alonso, albeit not because of his faltering McLaren.

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