Daniel Ricciardo registered the second fastest time in Practice 2.
Daniel Ricciardo registered the second fastest time in Practice 2.

Ricciardo impresses in France as Hamilton tops practice

AUSTRALIAN driver Daniel Ricciardo has recorded the third and second fastest times in the two practice sessions ahead of France's first Grand Prix in a decade.

World champion Lewis Hamilton was fastest on the day for Mercedes.

A point behind Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel after seven races, Hamilton complained about his car's handling over the radio in the first session but still put in a best time of one minute 32.231 seconds.

His best time in the second was 1:32.539.

Hamilton's Finnish teammate Valtteri Bottas, also with a new Mercedes engine in his car, was second fastest in the initial stint but seventh in the second after his car had a water leak.

Lewis Hamilton topped both practice sessions.
Lewis Hamilton topped both practice sessions.

Ricciardo, winner of two races this season and still mulling his future with team Red Bull, clocked the third fastest time in P1 (1:32.527) and was second to Hamilton in P2 (1:33.243).

The 90-minute opening session was red-flagged with a minute remaining when Marcus Ericsson lost control at the Beausset corner, spun and hit the barriers hard, with the Sauber car then catching fire.

The Swede worryingly remained in the car, with flames licking the airbox, before marshals arrived with an extinguisher and he clambered out from underneath the halo head-protection system.

Video images later showed extensive scorching to the rear of the car. Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was fourth on the time sheets in both sessions, with Vettel also fifth in both.

There was further misery for Williams and McLaren. Two of the sport's most successful teams, they are going through difficult times, with their drivers filling four of the bottom five places in first practice.

Daniel Ricciardo finished in the top three times in both practice sessions.
Daniel Ricciardo finished in the top three times in both practice sessions.

Spain's double world champion Fernando Alonso, winner at the Le Mans 24 Hours with Toyota last weekend, came down to earth with a bump in eighth place, with McLaren teammate Stoffel Vandoorne 13th.

The race, starting 12.10am on Monday (AEST) will be Formula One's first at Le Castellet's Paul Ricard circuit since 1990.

PRACTICE 2 RESULTS

1. Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes - 1m32.539s

2. Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull Racing - + 0.704s

3. Max Verstappen - Red Bull Racing - 0.732s

4. Kimi Raikkonen - Ferrari - + 0.887s

5. Sebastian Vettel - Ferrari - + 1.150s

6. Romain Grosjean - Haas - + 1.160s

7. Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes - + 1.617s

8. Fernando Alonso - McLaren - + 1.861s

9. Kevin Magnussen - Haas - + 1.918s

10. Pierre Gasly - Toro Rosso - + 1.996s

11. Nico Hulkenberg - Renault - + 2.528s

12. Carlos Sainz Jr. - Renault Sport - + 2.547s

13. Stoffel Vandoorne - McLaren - + 2.633s

14. Charles Leclerc - Sauber - + 3.044s

15. Brendon Hartley - Toro Rosso - + 3.158s

16. Esteban Ocon - Force India - + 3.166s

17. Lance Stroll - Williams - + 3.397s

18. Sergey Sirotkin - Williams - + 3.431s

19. Sergio Perez - Force India - + 3.541s

20. Marcus Ericsson - Sauber - no time

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