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Max Verstappen fastest in second French GP practice

Max Verstappen fastest in second French GP practice
© Reuters
The Red Bull driver edged out Valtteri Bottas by just eight thousandths of a second in second practice.

Max Verstappen held off Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton to finish fastest in second practice for the French Grand Prix.

Verstappen, who holds a four-point lead over title rival Hamilton ahead of Sunday's race, edged out Bottas by just eight thousandths of a second.

Bottas' Mercedes team-mate Hamilton finished third, 0.253 seconds slower than Verstappen.

Mercedes have endured off-colour displays in Monaco and Azerbaijan but the fast-sweeping nature of the Paul Ricard circuit is better suited to their machine.

Bottas arrived in the south of France as a man under pressure following a lacklustre display in Baku, where he started only 10th and finished 12th.

But his running here will provide him with a much-needed boost of confidence heading into the seventh round of the campaign.

After topping the opening session, Bottas then set his fastest lap in the day's concluding action on the slower medium compound rubber, suggesting there is more time to come from the Finn. Both Verstappen and Hamilton posted their best laps on the speedier soft tyres.

Verstappen, unfortunate not to win in Baku a fortnight ago following a late puncture, will also be encouraged by his pace after he ended the first session three tenths off the pace.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton did not trouble the top of the time charts in either running as he attempts to wrestle back the championship initiative from Verstappen.

It was not a day without incident for either Bottas or Verstappen with both sustaining damage after running over the rumble strips at Turn 2.

Mercedes team manager Ron Meadows and Red Bull sporting director Jonathan Wheatley both expressed their anger to FIA race director Michael Masi, claiming the repairs will cost in excess of £100,000.

Double world champion Fernando Alonso finished fourth for Alpine ahead of Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc with Esteban Ocon sixth. British driver Lando Norris was 10th for McLaren.

Earlier, Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel ran into the barriers at the right-handed Turn 11 but was able to limp back to the pits for repairs.

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz and Haas driver Mick Schumacher also suffered spins on Formula One's return to Le Castellet after last year's round was cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Esteban Ocon pictured on October 4, 2018
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States16171346
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia11151137
Great BritainGreat Britain891128
Today's Olympic highlights header

Sunday's key events

· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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