F1: Lewis Hamilton takes pole in France, Vettel back in 7th | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 22.06.2019
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F1: Lewis Hamilton takes pole in France, Vettel back in 7th

Mercedes locked out the front row of the grid for a record 63rd time, with Lewis Hamilton narrowly outpacing teammate Valtteri Bottas. Sebastian Vettel had a difficult session for Ferrari, while McLaren had a good day.

In extreme heat in the south of France, Mercedes continued their dominance of the 2019 season on Saturday, securing the best starting positions for Sunday's grand prix. 

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were trading fast laps throughout the session but the reigning champion found an extra quarter of a second when it mattered most. 

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc qualified third, more than half a second off Hamilton's time. 

Hamilton wandered across to Leclerc during his interview at the end of the qualifying session, saying: "I'm looking forward to a race with this one." Leclerc responded by quipping, "yeah, because we couldn't race much in Bahrain." 

Leclerc had led for most of that race, the second of the season, only to drop back with engine problems late in the race that rendered him a sitting duck. Either on track, or courtesy of penalties, one Mercedes driver or the other has won every race of 2019.

Verstappen in fourth, McLaren strong, Vettel back in seventh

Red Bull's Max Verstappen again qualified leagues clear of his teammate Pierre Gasly, claiming fourth with Gasly back in ninth. 

The McLarens of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz had an unusually strong outing, locking out the third row of the grid. 

This was enabled in part by a problematic final session of qualifying for Sebastian Vettel. The German aborted his first attempt at pole position, complaining of a missed gearshift in a lap where a couple of mistakes were also visible. His second and final shot also included an error, leaving the newly-wed Vettel well over a second off the leaders' pace. 

Daniel Ricciardo qualified eighth for Renault while a mistake by his German teammate Nico Hülkenberg in the second session of qualifying left him 13th at his team's home race. 

Alfa Romeo's Antonio Giovanazzi rounded out the top 10. 

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