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VERSTAPPEN WINS IN FRANCE


Max Verstappen keeps his championship lead after beating Hamilton to victory at the Circuit Paul Ricard in a tense strategy battle between the two teams. Sergio Perez played the team role very well and managed another podium coming home in third beating Bottas to it with just a few laps remaining.


Off the start Verstappen and Hamilton were practically equal off the line and Max appeared to lead the race but went wide into turn two and gifted Hamilton the lead.


On lap 10 we heard Lewis complaining about the graining on the tyres which is expected at the Circuit Paul Ricard. And just five laps later (L15) Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) made the first pit stop of the afternoon - pitting from eighth and coming out down in 19th only ahead of the Haas of Mick Schumacher.


Two laps after Leclerc pit it was Valtteri Bottas' turn to pit - the Mercedes man pits from third and rejoins in fourth. Red Bull then react to this by bringing in Verstappen on lap 18 - Max pitted from second and came back out in third. At this point Perez leads and Hamilton is second. Then on lap 19 it was Hamilton's turn to pit and it looked like Hamilton would come out ahead of Max but with a late braking move Verstappen went into turn two with a crucial lead over the Mercedes.

Then on lap 24 Sergio Perez pits from the lead after playing the long game with his tyres - the Mexican driver comes out in fourth.


By lap 30 / 31 teams began to think about a two stop at a race where a one stop can work and almost worked for the Mercedes this weekend. Then on lap 32 Red Bull pitted Max for fresh tyres which ultimately led him to the win and fastest lap.


And by lap 52 of 53 Verstappen had passed Bottas and Hamilton to take the lead.


The next race is the Styrian Grand Prix.