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Charles Leclerc

Leclerc beats Verstappen to French GP pole as Ferrari deploy clever tactics

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc will start Sunday's French Grand Prix from pole position after eclipsing Red Bull rival Max Verstappen during qualifying.

Leclerc France
To news overview © XPB

Charles Leclerc beat Max Verstappen to pole position for the French Grand Prix as Ferrari and Red Bull continued their head-to-head battle in hot conditions at the Circuit Paul Ricard.

During the decisive Q3 runs, Ferrari instructed Carlos Sainz – braced for an engine-related grid penalty – to give Leclerc a tow, helping the Monegasque fend off Verstappen.

Leclerc's initial time of 1:31.209 put him 0.008s clear of Verstappen, before he pumped in another tow-assisted effort of 1:30.872 to finish three-tenths ahead.

Sergio Perez recovered from his difficult start to the weekend to place third in the other Red Bull, with a sizeable gap back to the rest of the field.

Behind the front-runners, Lando Norris impressively put his McLaren between Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and George Russell in the 'best of the rest' scrap.

Fernando Alonso gave Alpine something to cheer about on home soil in seventh place, with AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda a strong eighth.

Sainz, along with Haas' Kevin Magnussen, did not post any times in Q3, with both dropping to the back of the grid due to their engine penalties.

Result Qualification - French

# Driver Team Time Tyre
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Ricciardo unable to progress from Q2

Despite his best efforts, Daniel Ricciardo was unable to join teammate Norris in the pole position shootout, missing the cut by 0.086s.

Similarly, home favourite Esteban Ocon lacked pace relative to Alonso in the other Alpine as he dropped out of Q2 in 12th, followed by Alfa Romeo's Valtteri Bottas.

Sebastian Vettel followed in 14th position, the four-time World Champion managing to end Aston Martin's painful three-round run of double Q1 eliminations.

Alex Albon was the other driver to get knocked out in Q2, having spun during his final lap, with Williams unable to convert their encouraging practice form.

Gasly out in Q1 in front of his home fans

Pierre Gasly endured a horrible session on home soil – and in front of his dedicated grandstand – as he fell at the first qualifying hurdle in the other AlphaTauri.

Aston Martin's Lance Stroll was next up in 17th with an identical lap time to Gasly, lamenting over the radio on his way back to the pits that he "got screwed with traffic".

Alfa Romeo rookie Zhou Guanyu had looked set to challenge for a spot in Q2 but made a costly mistake on his final lap, sliding wide at Turn 6 and losing time to his rivals all the way down the long Mistral Straight.

In 19th, Mick Schumacher lost out for another reason, with his best time deleted by the stewards for exceeding track limits at Turn 3, much to the German's frustration – and confusion – on the team radio.

Nicholas Latifi, P20 and last, was unable to make an impression in his upgraded Williams.

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F1 2022 French Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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