Lewis Hamilton makes stunning Michael Schumacher revelation after French Grand Prix win

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And it was a Mercedes one-two as Hamilton pipped team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who looked to have done enough to start from the front.

The success for both of them improved because of a cooler track.

Vettel received a set of soft tires, Bottas going onto the same compound after ending up with a puncture, but he was unable to guide them to the end of the race and could only finish fifth.

This allowed Max Verstappen to take third behind his Red Bull team mate ahead of the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and championship leader Sebastian Vettel.

Ricciardo, victor of two races this season and still mulling his future options, was third fastest for Red Bull in the first session in 1:32.527.

When the top three were asked about the severity of Vettel's penalty in the post-race press conference, Verstappen joked: "Yeah, I think next time you see Seb you should ask him to change his style, obviously it's not acceptable!"

The battle of Formula One's four-times champions has ebbed and flowed, with Vettel taking back the lead in Canada after Hamilton had to make do with an engine reaching the end of its life while rival teams had upgrades.

Hamilton appeared to have navigated debris on the track from another racer's punctured tire before crossing the finish line.

"Jeez, he took him right out", said Hamilton was he was filmed. The engine feels good, fresh and powerful". The guys did a great job. "We have a good auto".

Sunday's victory was the 65th of Hamilton's F1 career but the Briton's first in France, which last hosted a race in 2008. Only Michael Schumacher has more victories with 91.

While both drivers had to pit for emergency repairs at the end of the opening lap, the clash did more lasting damage to Bottas' afternoon.

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Verstappen's run of incidents at the start of 2018 left the youngster under intense scrutiny, with suggestions from his team and from pundits that he should change his approach.

Vettel paid the price for the first corner collision, with a five second penalty and a drop to the back of the field before coming back strongly.

"I don't think we maximised the potential of the auto in qualifying today".

Vettel admitted he may have pushed too much but was happy with third place.

"I think it was to do with quite a strong headwind we had. We are not twiddling around".

If Ricciardo does jump ship, Red Bull is likely to pluck the "on loan" Carlos Sainz back from Renault.

Force India's bad day only got worse when it also lost Sergio Perez midway through the race due to an engine issue.

"After Saturdays, I'm always here answering negative questions", Alonso, whose future at McLaren remains uncertain, told Sky Sports.

Basking in the Mediterranean sun, driving conditions were optimal at the 5.8-kilometre circuit situated next to a private airport where planes took off and landed all weekend.

Hamilton was the first driver to dip into the 1:33's and then clocked 132.539 to move seven-tenths clear of Ricciardo at the top.

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