Max Verstappen holds off Lewis Hamilton to take pole at French GP

The Red Bull driver handsomely beat Lewis Hamilton into second, with the world champion accepting that any suggestion that past successes meant his Mercedes team could take anything for granted was out of the question. Hamilton has taken pole and victory at both the previous two runnings of the French GP here at the Paul Ricard circuit, with Mercedes dominant on the predominantly high-speed track. This time however, with Hamilton in a fierce title fight with Verstappen who leads the championship by just four points, Red Bull proved crucially to hold the advantage in the areas where Mercedes had once ruled supreme. On the first hot runs in Q3 Verstappen was mighty through the second and third sectors – the fastest parts of the lap – setting a time of 1min 30.325sec. He was once more quickest in sectors two and three and took a further three-tenths off his own time, setting a 1min 29.990sec. “We don’t call that a race, for me the race is on Sunday.

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