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Lewis lays down early marker in hunt for Vettel

 

By Philip Duncan

Defending champion Lewis Hamilton laid down a marker by dominating practice on Formula One's return to France.

Hamilton was fastest in both sessions at the Paul Ricard circuit as he bids to usurp rival Sebastian Vettel at the top of the standings.

Ferrari's Vettel is one point clear of Hamilton, but the British driver and his Mercedes team had the edge in Le Castellet yesterday.

The 33-year-old Englishman lit up the time sheets in the day's opening running before returning to its summit later in the day.

Hamilton, armed with a new Mercedes engine, posted a best lap of one minute and 32.539 seconds to finish clear of the rest.

Daniel Ricciardo was second for Red Bull, three-quarters of a second behind the Mercedes, with team-mate Max Verstappen third. Ferrari usually underplay their hand on Friday, and Kimi Raikkonen and Vettel finished fourth and fifth respectively.

Belfast Telegraph

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