Hamilton wins French GP in Mercedes one-two

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Lewis Hamilton led every lap from pole position to score his sixth win of the 2019 Formula 1 season at Sunday's French Grand Prix.

In a processional affair, Hamilton led the field away ahead of his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas and was never seriously threatened as he moved onto 79 career victories, now just 12 shy of Michael Schumacher's all-time record.

"It's been a really good weekend," said the Briton after the race. "I've been racing a long time, but this feeling never gets old. I love to push the car to the limit. It wasn't easy; there's always things happening in the car, everything is on the edge and you have to look after the car. I had big blisters on my front two tyres and I was worried about a blowout. But this is the best start to the year ever, and I'm really enjoying it."

Behind Hamilton, Bottas assured it was a 1-2 finish for Mercedes, though the Finn was pushed hard by Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, who closed rapidly on Bottas in the closing laps as the Mercedes was struggling with badly worn tyres.

"Lewis was quicker today," Bottas acknowledged ruefully. "I couldn't match him. It's important for me to go away and understand where I can do better. [Lewis] isn't unbeatable. I just need to work harder."

Leclerc was happier with his third place. "I gave it everything today. It felt ok, but Mercedes were just too quick today. In the last two laps I was catching Bottas, but there weren't enough laps to try [to overtake]. But after our race simulation [in Friday practice], this is a great day."

Max Verstappen's Red Bull finished fourth, ahead of Leclerc's teammate Sebastian Vettel, who had been out of sorts all weekend after qualifying only seventh, though the German at least took an extra bonus point for setting the race's fastest lap at the death.

Carlos Sainz took sixth for McLaren, who had their most competitive Grand Prix weekend for several seasons. Teammate Lando Norris had been following in seventh, but dropped to tenth on the last lap after struggling with a long-standing hydraulic issue.

Renault's Daniel Ricciardo, the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen and Ricciardo's teammate Nico Hulkenberg were the beneficiaries of Norris' mishap, all three overtaking the Englishman on lap 53 to round out the points positions.

Hamilton's win sees him extend his lead in the drivers' championship to 162 points, with Bottas second on 133, and Vettel third with 100 points. In the constructors' championship, Mercedes move on to 295 points, with Ferrari a long way behind in second with 172 points, and Red Bull on 124.

The next round of the 2019 Formula 1 season is the Austrian Grand Prix on June 30. 

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