Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas has set the fastest time in the first free practice for the French Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen clocked third time behind his title competitor Lewis Hamilton.

The Limburger conceded four tenths to the fastest Mercedes.

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Verstappen drove by far most of his 23 laps on the soft tires.

Hamilton did the same.

Bottas focused more on the hard tires and finished with a 16-lap run on the hardest rubber.

Before that, the Finn had already set his fastest time of 1.33.448.

During the training several drivers shot off the track.

Mick Schumacher already did that in the first lap, but managed to keep his Haas fairly intact.

Bottas briefly slipped off the track in Turn 2, hitting some yellow curbs, severely damaging his Mercedes.

His team complained to the FIA ​​during practice that the yellow 'buns' just outside the racing line are "too aggressive".

It didn't stop with Bottas.

A little late, Sebastian Vettel shot off the track in his Aston Martin and, despite the considerable run-out zones in Paul Ricard, still hit the tire stacks.

The four-time world champion was able to continue, despite some damage to the rear of the car.

Then Carlos Sainz also shot off the asphalt at high speed.

In addition to four flats on its tires, the Spaniard's Ferrari remained undamaged.

The timetable for the French Grand Prix

  • Friday 15.00-16.00: Second free practice

  • Saturday 12.00: Third free practice

  • Saturday 15.00: Qualification

  • Sunday 15.00: Race