Lewis Hamilton hopes Ferrari “maybe made a mistake” with its qualifying tyre tactics which sees both Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen start on the softest option tyres for the French Grand Prix after the British driver grabbed pole position.

The defending Formula 1 world champion led a Mercedes front row lockout ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas to mark a successful start with the upgraded ‘2.1’-specificaiton power unit which makes its debut in France.

Both Mercedes drivers were able to graduate into Q3 using the supersoft tyres, effectively the middle option compound for this weekend, while both Ferraris used the softest options which dictates the tyre each driver starts the race on.

Hamilton says unless Ferrari has some hidden performance and better durability on the softer tyre he feels the Italian manufacturer may suffer for its decision in the race as the team will need to pit earlier compared to the Mercedes pair.

“I really don't know. They're on the ultras for the race, I'm not sure why they've gone for the ultras rather than the supersofts,” Hamilton said. “We're on the supersofts. Maybe they know something we don't, or maybe they've made a mistake.

“We'll find out tomorrow. Our fight still is with them tomorrow.”

French GP Records

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Hamilton has secured his 75th career F1 pole position and first-ever in France, with this year marking the return of the race after a decade away, but felt he could have produced a much faster lap than his 1m 30.029s.

“I'm trying to perfect always but there was some time left on the track,” he said. “I think we were super close in times, but I was three-tenths down in the first two sectors.

“I lost a massive chunk in the middle of the lap but fortunately I fixed the last sector and caught it back up. I should have been another three-tenths further ahead, but it's okay, I'll take it.

“I am a perfectionist which is why I sometimes get frustrated with certain things. I'm really happy with the pole. The team has done a great job, and it's great to be back there.”



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