Lewis Hamilton fastest in Friday practice for F1 French Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton fastest in Friday practice for F1 French Grand Prix

The latest specification engine had been due for introduction in Canada two weekends ago but that was postponed at short notice due to concerns about an unspecified "quality issue". "Engine performance has never been a problem for us", Hamilton said.

Mercedes' Brixworth team has "reworked" six race units plus spares, and this allocation is on-site at Paul Ricard.

Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen classified fourth in both sessions, over three-quarters of a second adrift of Hamilton.

"There's a lot of different lines you can take and it's tricky to find reference points out on track". "But we won't really know its full potential until tomorrow when everyone gets to turn their engines up". Apart from the colourful lines, it's hard to tell where you are.

"The team in Brixworth have moved mountains to deliver the updated unit in time for France and we are looking forward to racing it in anger both here and in the races that follow thick and fast in the weeks ahead". There's a couple of places for example on the back straight where you're trying to find out where the corner is - it's really hard to see.

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With drivers allowed only three engines a season before penalties are applied, Hamilton and Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas were always going to get fresh ones having completed the lifespan of the ones they started the season with.

Lewis Hamilton complained about his car's handling over the radio but still put in a best time of one minute 32.231 seconds. "They've been pushing so hard to get this engine and do it in the right way". "Overall, it was a good session today - now we need to carry on this performance through the weekend".

But the driver, bidding to beat the German to claim his fifth world championship, will have one eye on Gareth Southgate's team as they aim to secure their second victory in as many matches.

"To be able to represent your country and be at the top of the sport, like we are hoping the England team will be, is an honour and a privilege - and I am grateful for that".

"The fresher engine this weekend will be great as it will have more power than the one I used at the last race", the Briton told reporters.

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