- Lewis Hamilton took the 86th pole of his Formula 1 career in dominant fashion on Saturday at Paul Ricard, heading up a front row lock-out for Mercedes. Hamilton set a new track record – some 1.7 seconds faster than his 2018 pole lap – en route to top spot, beating teammate Valtteri Bottas by almost three-tenths of a second in Q3.

- Hamilton said after the session that he was four-tenths of a second up on his final flying lap before making a mistake in the dusty final sector, meaning he could only improve by one-tenth. Teammate Bottas pinned the blame on his late Q3 struggles on a change in wind direction.

- Mercedes’ display saw it comprehensively beat Ferrari, with Hamilton finishing six-tenths of a second clear of Charles Leclerc in P3. Leclerc was left to lead Ferrari’s charge after Sebastian Vettel could only muster seventh on the grid, having lost his first lap in Q3 to a missed upshift, with a scruffy second effort leaving him 1.4 seconds off the pace.

- Leclerc was heard on at least two occasions asking Ferrari to tell Vettel to create a bigger gap ahead, fearing he would be backed up and be unable to get in a final lap time. Vettel replied to one message saying: “How much more gap do you need? I'm not trying to kill him, it's fine.”

- Max Verstappen managed to take fourth place for Red Bull with his final run in Q3, narrowly beating the McLaren pair of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz. Verstappen said some setup changes were made on his car after FP3 following a difficult morning, and while he said Mercedes would be out of reach in the race, he felt battling with Ferrari for the final podium position would be possible.

- Pierre Gasly had a more difficult session in the second Red Bull, qualifying down in ninth place. Gasly got through Q2 on Softs, with all of the top eight runners doing so on Mediums, and then ran Mediums early in Q3, only to drop off the pace. Gasly said he too made setup changes, albeit going in the wrong direction to leave him struggling.

- Norris and Sainz’s lock-out of the third row marked McLaren’s best qualifying result since Austria 2016 and the best collective team Saturday result since 2014. Norris said he fancied a fight with Red Bull in the race on Sunday, adding: “Fifth onwards, I think we can be happy.”

- McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl confirmed on Saturday that the company’s board had approved the construction of a new wind tunnel at the McLaren Technology Centre, which will be completed in the next two years.

Lance Stroll’s string of qualifying struggles continued as he was resigned to his 12th-straight Q1 exit at Racing Point. Teammate Sergio Perez managed to qualify P14, maintaining his 100 percent head-to-head record this year.

- The only other driver with a 100 percent record over his teammate in qualifying is George Russell, who once again beat Robert Kubica on Saturday. Russell will drop behind his teammate on the grid after a power unit change was confirmed by Williams earlier in the day following an issue in FP3.

- Sunday’s race begins at 1510 CET (1410 BST).



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