Lewis Hamilton has beaten Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas to pole position at the French Grand Prix.
The world champion was 0.286 seconds quicker than the Finn, whose title challenge is in danger of fizzling out before half way through the season.
Bottas heads into the race 29 points behind Hamilton and needs to beat him to get his challenge back on track.
Behind them, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was third while team-mate Sebastian Vettel could manage only seventh.
Bottas had the edge – until it mattered
Mercedes were untouchable at the front, as they have looked all weekend on this demanding track in the Provencal hills.
Bottas looked to have an edge on Hamilton through practice, but when it mattered the Briton made it count, as he so often does.
It was Hamilton’s third pole of the season, matching Bottas’ tally.
In the final qualifying session, Hamilton was 0.157secs quicker than Bottas on the first runs.
Bottas had a scrappy lap on his second attempt and failed to improve, while Hamilton took a few extra fractions off his time, despite a small error in the penultimate corner.