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Hamilton clinches pole position at French Grand Prix

Hamilton leads the championship on 162 points, 29 more than his teammate Bottas who is in second place, while Vettel is third, 62 points behind the standings leader.

IANS | Paul Ricard Circuit (France) |

Briton Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton has earned the pole position ahead of the French Grand Prix.

On Saturday, the five-time world champion posted a time of one minute and 29.319s to earn his 86th pole position in his racing career winning the Grand Prix, reports Efe news.

“It’s not an easy track. I’m happy I got the potential out of the car… The wind has been picking up, it’s quite gusty,” the F1 official twitter account cited Hamilton as saying.

From the front row, Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas of Finland will kick off Sunday’s race having wrapped up the qualifying rounds in second spot, 0.286s off the pace.

“It’s been super-close between Lewis and I all weekend and there has only been a few hundredths between us. We’ve had a strong car all weekend,” Bottas said afterward, according to the F1 twitter account.

“There’s a long run into Turn 1, so there’s a chance.”

So far, Mercedes has displayed strength at the Paul Ricard Circuit, with Hamilton setting the pace in the first free practice session and Bottas posting the best time in both the second and third sessions.

Monaco’s Charles Leclerc was Ferrari’s fastest driver as he came third, 0.646s slower than Hamilton, ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen of the Netherlands who was one second off the pace.

“Today is the best we could have done. A good start will be very important… hopefully, tomorrow will be a good race,” Leclerc said after the qualifying rounds.

McLaren’s British driver Lando Norris will start the race from the third row as he came fifth, 1.099s off the pace, ahead of his teammate Carlos Sainz of Spain, who was 1.2s slower than Hamilton.

Ferrari’s German driver Sebastian Vettel, a four-time world champion, had to settle for the fourth row, alongside Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo of Australia.

Hamilton leads the championship on 162 points, 29 more than his teammate Bottas who is in second place, while Vettel is third, 62 points behind the standings leader.