Le Castellet (France) (AFP) - Lewis Hamilton secured pole position for the French Grand Prix ahead of his team-mate Valtteri Bottas as Mercedes dominated Saturday's crash-hit qualifying session to sweep the front row of the grid.
The four-time world champion clocked a best lap in one minute and 30.029 seconds to grab the 75th pole position of his career ahead of Bottas, giving himself a perfect chance to regain the initiative in the title race in Sunday's race.
Championship leader, and fellow four-time world champion, Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari was third, three-tenths off the pace, ahead of Max Verstappen and his Red Bull team-mate Australian Daniel Ricciardo.
Kimi Raikkonen was sixth in the second Ferrari ahead of Carlos Sainz of Renault, Charles Leclerc of Sauber, Kevin Magnussen and his Haas team-mate Romain Grosjean, who crashed during the top-ten shootout, halting the session for eight minutes.
"That wasn't too bad," said Hamilton. "It feels great to be back in France –- it's a beautiful place and we got a great response from the crowd."