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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 22 July 2018

Lewis Hamilton fastest in French GP practice ahead of Red Bull pair of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen

Championship leader Sebastian Vettel only fifth on first day of F1's return to Paul Ricard

Lewis Hamilton was fastest in practice for the French Grand Prix. Charles Coates / Getty Images
Lewis Hamilton was fastest in practice for the French Grand Prix. Charles Coates / Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton topped the times in both practice sessions as he and Mercedes-GP returned to form at the French Grand Prix.

The world champion had struggled in Canada two weeks ago as he finished down in fifth, a result that gave the championship lead to Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who won in Montreal.

But the Mercedes driver was back on the pace on Formula One's first return to Paul Ricard since 1990. He was fastest in the morning session, and did it again in the afternoon as a 1 minute, 32.539 seconds put him at the top of the times.

That was ahead of the Red Bull Racing pair of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, with Vettel more than a second slower in fifth place.

Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas had his session cut short by a water leak and he was only seventh.

Qualifying is on Saturday at 6pm with the race on Sunday at 6.10pm.

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