The eighth round of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship began with practice Friday at Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet as teams prepared for the French Grand Prix Sunday. It marked a return to the track after a 28-year absence, where countryman Alain Prost won the 1990 French Grand Prix before the event departed to Magny-Cours, running from 1991 through 2008 whereupon the French Grand Prix dropped from the calendar altogether. This weekend’s event ends a 190-race drought between French Grands Prix.
Leading the way in FP1 was the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. Hamilton’s fast lap of 1:32.231 pipped his teammate by .140 of a second to earn the top spot. Hamilton remained atop FP2 with a mark of 1:32.539, which was .704 of a second better than his nearest pursuer, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.