(Formula One) No Sweat for Lewis Hamilton

Sports | 24 Jun 2019 12:04 pm

Lewis Hamilton comfortably won the French Grand Prix from pole position yesterday to clinch a sixth victory this season and extend his championship lead over Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas to 36 points. 
Hamilton has hit a purple patch as he chases a sixth Formula One world title. This was his fourth consecutive win and 79th overall _ only 12 behind Formula One record-holder Michael Schumacher's tally of 91. 
Bottas, who made a poor start from second on the grid, finished in second place. He was a massive 18 seconds behind Hamilton, who on Saturday took a record-extending 86th pole . 
"I got into my rhythm and after that it was quite comfortable,'' Hamilton said. 
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc placed third, almost catching Bottas on the last lap.
It was a consistent race weekend from the 21-year-old Leclerc, who was third in all three practice runs and qualifying. 
By the end, Bottas was relieved Leclerc ran out of time. 
Red Bull's Max Verstappen placed fourth ahead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who took a point for the fastest lap in what was otherwise another disappointing performance from the four-time world champion. 
Vettel, who started seventh after a poor qualifying stint, has not won for 16 races dating back to the Belgian GP last August. 
When Hamilton won here at the same stage last year, he regained the championship lead from Vettel. 
Now he leads third-placed Vettel by 76 points _ 187 to 111 _ in what looks like becoming yet another disappointing season from the German driver, who lost the last two titles to Hamilton due to mistakes under pressure despite leading both of those campaigns. 
Afternoon track temperatures hit 56 degrees Celsius  on the 3.6-mile Circuit Paul Ricard in southeastern France. 
French driver Romain Grosjean's poor form continued, and he retired on Lap 44. He has scored only two points so far and is fighting to keep his seat at Haas for next year. 
He, like Vettel, will need to improve at the Austrian GP next weekend. 
Mercedes has won all eight so far _ the other two going to Bottas _ while Ferrari has not won since former driver Kimi Raikkonen's success at the United States GP last October. There are 21 races in the season. 
Ferrari has not won the drivers' title since Raikkonen in 2007 and clinched the last of its constructors' titles in 2008. 
The team brought some upgrades to the car for this race, which Ferrari was hopeful about, yet ultimately they didn't make any difference.-AP



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