Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Paul Ricard, 2018

Hamilton on top as Ericsson crash halts practice

2018 French Grand Prix first practice

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Lewis Hamilton was quickest in first practice for the French Grand Prix but the session came to an early end after a heavy crash for Marcus Ericsson.

The Sauber driver spun on entry to the high-speed right-hander at La Beausset, skidded across the run-off area and made heavy contact with the barrier. The rear of the car caught fire after the impact but the flames were swiftly extinguished.

The session was red-flagged with Hamilton leading the times by a tenth of a second from team mate Valtteri Bottas. They and the four Mercedes-powered drivers from customer teams all ran new engines, turbochargers and MGU-Ks for this session, though Mercedes are yet to confirm whether they are of an updated specification.

The Mercedes pair spent the session on ultra-soft tyres but Daniel Ricciardo had headed the table for much of the session after a rapid run on the soft compound rubber. He ended up third ahead of the two Ferrari drivers.

Kimi Raikkonen, fourth, was one of several other drivers who spun during the session. He was caught out by turn six, as were Brendon Hartley and Esteban Ocon earlier in proceedings, though all three stayed out of the barriers. The same went for Ericsson’s team mate Charles Leclerc who spun twice, including a high-speed off at the chicane.

Several drivers encountered problems with traffic during the session, including pace-setter Hamilton who went off-track after being delayed by Stoffel Vandoorne at the chicane. Sergio Perez also had a near-miss with Kevin Magnussenm but the pair ended the session inside the top 10.

Romain Grosjean was the quickest of the midfield runners at his home track, while fellow home driver Pierre Gasly also appeared in the top 10. Gasly, however, faces a trip to the stewards after he failed to return his first set of tyres before the first 40 minutes of practice had finished.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’32.23125
277Valtteri BottasMercedes1’32.3710.14029
33Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’32.5270.29625
47Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’33.0030.77223
55Sebastian VettelFerrari1’33.1720.94119
68Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’33.3181.08722
733Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’33.3311.10015
810Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Honda1’33.6851.45423
911Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’33.7191.48826
1020Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’34.1081.87723
1155Carlos Sainz JnrRenault1’34.2582.02725
1231Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’34.4842.25314
1316Charles LeclercSauber-Ferrari1’34.5132.28221
149Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’34.5922.36121
1528Brendon HartleyToro Rosso-Honda1’34.6642.43325
1614Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Renault1’34.8622.63120
1718Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes1’34.8812.65028
1827Nico HulkenbergRenault1’34.9932.76224
192Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Renault1’35.0212.79024
2035Sergey SirotkinWilliams-Mercedes1’35.1052.87425

First practice visual gaps

Lewis Hamilton – 1’32.231

+0.140 Valtteri Bottas – 1’32.371

+0.296 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’32.527

+0.772 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’33.003

+0.941 Sebastian Vettel – 1’33.172

+1.087 Romain Grosjean – 1’33.318

+1.100 Max Verstappen – 1’33.331

+1.454 Pierre Gasly – 1’33.685

+1.488 Sergio Perez – 1’33.719

+1.877 Kevin Magnussen – 1’34.108

+2.027 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’34.258

+2.253 Esteban Ocon – 1’34.484

+2.282 Charles Leclerc – 1’34.513

+2.361 Marcus Ericsson – 1’34.592

+2.433 Brendon Hartley – 1’34.664

+2.631 Fernando Alonso – 1’34.862

+2.650 Lance Stroll – 1’34.881

+2.762 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’34.993

+2.790 Stoffel Vandoorne – 1’35.021

+2.874 Sergey Sirotkin – 1’35.105

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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2018 French Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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21 comments on “Hamilton on top as Ericsson crash halts practice”

  1. Scary pictures, Ericsson was in shock but i wonder why the team was so late with telling him the car is on fire.

  2. Coincidently, there was a fire extinguisher right at the spot where Ericsson hit the wall, but no marshal immediately next to it, LOL.

    1. Well let me repeat my answear then.

      There was a marshal and an extinguisher there. He looked at the situation, called for help, grabbed the extinguisher and put out the fire. The help was there allmost instant with more fire extinguishers and marshals. Its spotless all the way apart from Ericsson not getting out of the car.

      1. @rethla If you look at the replay footage from above the spot where he Ericsson hit the wall you can see that the fire extinguisher is right there, but the closest marshal to it a little further away from it. Had he been standing right next to it in the first place then it would’ve taken far less time to reach it, and subsequently prevented the fire from getting any bigger.

        1. I was supposed to remove ‘he’ from ‘where Ericsson hit the wall’ but forgot to do so.

          1. @jerejj, had I been standing right where a car travelling at 200kph was about to arrive I think I would have been more than 3 metres away on impact, how about you?

        2. @jerejj The extinguisher was next to the car and he was 3 meter away. What are you even asking here, that the marshals and extinguishers be placed closer than every third meter of the track? “Far less” in your world seem to be 1-2seconds. An readiness that is not requested at 100% of the track.

          There is absolutely no fault here unless you feel they should double up the safety with two marshals at that specific turn. It worked as intended.

    2. @jerejj

      Oh for goodness sake, you seem to know nothing!

      Marshall’s are not paid a penny for their astounding responsibility, input and skill.

      They give up weekend after weekend to make absolutely sure races of all types everywhere can exist yet never get a single line of credit from any publication for their skill and complete loyalty to the process of making sure races happen, smoothly and safely. They are absolutely the unsung heroes of all races anywhere. Club, karting, bikes or F1. Without their free – note that FREE, input there is no racing anywhere. Ever.

      You Mr Keyboard Warrior, however?

      Perhaps get out there, get all your mates, their families etc and spend the months training for free and maybe then you can have a Marshall every six foot of the track.

      It’s time the Marshall input was acknowledged and with the money in the F1 and MotoGP world, appropriately paid.

      1. Well said that man!
        Even at club level racing, the marshals are highly regarded and thanked, without being out there, for no money, there would be no racing.

    3. @hohum In that case, since there already was a fenced-wall in between, I wouldn’t really have moved away from the spot at least not laterally. Maybe a few steps backward, and then immediately back to the spot once the hit to the wall had occurred just in case if there’d be fire so that it could be taken out without getting any bigger.

  3. Ericsson just said on Sky that he took so long to get out the car because the mirror had been knocked off so he couldn’t see the fire.

    I like this track, Always have (Well the long/full layout anyway) & watching the OnBoards during FP1 I still like it. The runoff stripes may not be aesthetically pleasing but the layout itself is nice & quite challenging in places.

    I keep seeing people go on about how it’s a poor track for racing, However i’ve seen a lot of races from other categories on this layout over the years (Including the old F1 races) which have been pretty good so if the racing isn’t great for F1 I don’t think it will be down to the track.

  4. So, is McLaren having that PU tuned all the way down, or are we seeing them melt down here?

    I think the new track, the wind and some other things made it so the field was quite spread out and mixed up.

    1. McLaren are competing against Williams for the last spot on the grid

    2. No Freddos for the team then

      1. I just wonder…same new pavement here as in Spain, and Merc finished 1-2 there. FA came 8th in Spain which was his worse showing of the season up to that point. So perhaps Mac might struggle here just as Merc might like this new pavement? Anyway for now just one practice session under their belts.

  5. Oh McLaren…

  6. Maybe the time has (finally) come for Ericsson to crash out of F1 altogether. Newbie Leclerc has already overtaken him left, right, over & under.

  7. Did anyone notice any updates on McLaren? It seems that the area behind the front wheels has stayed exactly the same since the first race. So McLaren managed to bring only one update – the new front wing – in Barcelona.
    If that’s true, then that’s absolutely terrible. Alonso was almost screaming that the car will get new updates soon after the first race. But they are only getting worse.

    1. Almost screaming! Right then.

    2. They where running alot of flow-wizzzzzzzz (green sticky fluid) on the backend parts of the car so are you sure there is nothing new going on there?

  8. Keith, your website never remembers my login, not sure why…
    Anyway. I thought you should mention those terrible winds causing the spins!
    If I never watched FP1 I would think the spins were driver/car setup problems!

Comments are closed.