- Formula 1 returns to France after ten-year break
- Valtteri Bottas posts the DHL Fastest Lap at Circuit Paul Ricard
- Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo share the lead in the DHL Fastest Lap Award
Valtteri Bottas sets DHL Fastest Lap at Le Castellet
Formula 1 returned to France after a break of ten years. Championship leader Lewis Hamilton took a supreme victory from pole position at Le Castellet’s Paul Ricard circuit where the French Grand Prix last took place in 1990, extending his lead on Sebastian Vettel to 14 points.
Vettel had to settle for fifth place following a contact at the start with Hamilton’s teammate, Valtteri Bottas. Matters were even worse for Bottas, because after the accident with Vettel on the first lap, he was forced to limp around the track in his Mercedes with a damaged rear tire, lost a lot of time and was ultimately only seventh.
However, the Finn still managed to burn the DHL Fastest Lap into the French asphalt. On fresh tires, Bottas recorded a time of 1:34.225 on Lap 41, which was 0.050 seconds faster than Max Verstappen, who also booked second place overall.
"My race was lost in Turn One. I was on the outside going into it and I knew that keeping that line would put me on the inside for Turn Two. Then suddenly I got a hit from behind, had a puncture and damaged my floor", Bottas said. "But there are some positives - we were strong as a team, although unfortunately we could not turn that into a perfect points result. I also set the fastest lap of the race despite the condition of the car."
Fastest laps: FORMULA 1 PIRELLI GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE 2018
- 01 Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 1:34.225 - on Lap 41
- 02 Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 1:34.275 - on Lap 47
- 03 Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari) 1:34.398 - on Lap 48
- 04 Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 1:34.485 - on Lap 42
- 05 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:34.509 - on Lap 49
- 06 Fernando Alonso (McLaren) 1:35.133 - on Lap 48
- 07 Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 1:35.382 - on Lap 37
- 08 Kevin Magnussen (Haas) 1:35.425 - on Lap 50
- 09 Carlos Sainz (Renault) 1:35.638 - on Lap 46
- 10 Romain Grosjean (Haas) 1:35.695 - on Lap 47
History: Fastest laps in the FORMULA 1 FRENCH GRAND PRIX
Valtteri Bottas set a new lap record with his DHL Fastest Lap of 1:34.225, as racing at the brand-new, 5.842-kilometer version of the Circuit Paul Ricard was taking place there for the first time.
However, the fastest lap ever posted at the racetrack in southern France dates back to 1990 when Formula 1 was last staged at Le Castellet. Nigel Mansell covered the Circuit Paul Ricard in 1:08.012, but the track was much shorter then, measuring only 3.813 kilometers.
Bottas and Ricciardo share the lead in the DHL Fastest Lap Award
Valtteri Bottas has now drawn level with Daniel Ricciardo in the overall classification of the DHL Fastest Lap Award. Both drivers have posted three fastest laps each in the eight races held so far this season. Max Verstappen is next in the standings, having secured two DHL Fastest Laps this year and narrowly losing out to Bottas at Le Castellet.