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Max Verstappen sets strong pace in final practice session for French Grand Prix

Verstappen sets strong pace in final practice session for French Grand Prix
© Reuters
Lewis Hamilton finished only fifth ahead of qualifying, which gets under way at 2pm.

Max Verstappen set an impressive pace in the final practice session for the French Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton finished only fifth.

Verstappen, fastest in Friday's concluding running, ended the final action before qualifying seven tenths ahead of Valtteri Bottas.

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz was third with Sergio Perez fourth, nearly a second slower than his Red Bull team-mate.

On Friday night, Hamilton admitted he faced an uphill challenge to wrest the championship initiative back from Verstappen after claiming there was something fundamentally wrong with his car.

Hamilton has been given Bottas' old chassis for this weekend's race at Paul Ricard and on the evidence of practice the seven-time world champion is struggling for pace.

Hamilton, who trails Verstappen by four points in the standings, finished the one-hour running on Saturday morning 0.966 sec slower than his title rival.

Verstappen would have won at the last round in Azerbaijan but for a tyre blowout with just five laps remaining. However, the Dutchman appears in a strong position to avenge his misfortune in Baku.

Elsewhere, British driver Lando Norris finished sixth for McLaren, ahead of Alpine's Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon.

Qualifying for Sunday's race gets under way at 2pm.

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States20231659
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia12191344
Great BritainGreat Britain10101232
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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