Mercedes’ driver Valtteri Bottas set the best time in the first free practice session of the French Grand Prix at the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet on Friday. The Finn was 0.335 seconds quicker than his teammate Lewis Hamilton with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen a further 0.007secs behind. The Dutchman holds a four-point lead over Hamilton in the championship after six races.
Sergio Perez, in the other Red Bull, was fourth quickest with Esteban Ocon, who has just extended his contract with Alpine until 2024, in fifth.
Sebastien Vettel crashed his Aston Martin but was able to limp back to the pits while Bottas and Mick Schumacher (Haas) also damaged their cars in off-track moments.