Formula 1

Leclerc clinches crucial pole position ahead of Verstappen at the French Grand Prix

3 Mins read
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Charles Leclerc clinched pole position at the 2022 French Grand Prix at the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, France.

Max Verstappen was in second position, 0.304 seconds slower than Leclerc. Sergio Pérez was in third position at the end of the session. Leclerc was aided by a tow from team-mate Carlos Sainz in the final qualification session.

Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris rounded off the top five positions in the qualification session.

The qualifying session started under hot conditions with air temperatures at 29 degrees C and track temperatures at 53 degrees C.

The Pirelli tyre choice at this race is the white-striped hard compound tyres (C2), yellow-striped medium compound tyres (C3), and red-striped soft compound tyres (C4), the middle range of compounds in the Pirelli tyre range.

Sainz and Kevin Magnussen will start at the back of the grid in the race due to power unit penalties.

Q1: Gasly and Schumacher knocked out

Lance Stroll led the drivers on to the track. The drivers were on the soft compound tyres which has shown heavy degradation in the hot conditions.

Leclerc went to the top of the time charts with a lap time of 1m31.727s. Verstappen was in second position, 0.164 seconds slower than Leclerc. Pérez was in third position behind the championship rivals.

Sainz came out late as his grid penalties made the qualification position redundant. The Spaniard slotted into third position.

Mick Schumacher had a quick lap which took him out of the drop zone and into the top ten positions. The lap time was deleted and the young German was eliminated.

Q1 dropzone: Pierre Gasly, Lance Stroll, Zhou Guanyu, Mick Schumacher, Nicholas Latifi

Q2: Bottas and Vettel eliminated

Verstappen with a lap time of 1m31.990s was on top of the time charts in the early exchanges.

The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team drivers came out on the used soft compound tyres and George Russell was in the drop zone.

Sainz then went to the top of the time charts with a storming lap time of 1m31.081s, almost a second quicker than Verstappen.

Russell and Hamilton slotted into sixth and fifth positions in the dying minutes of the session.

Sainz led a Ferrari 1-2 at the top of the time charts.

Q2 dropzone: Daniel Ricciardo, Esteban Ocon, Valtteri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel, Alexander Albon

Q3: Leclerc clinches pole position

The last all-important twelve minutes of the top ten shootout started with pole position being contested by Verstappen and Leclerc.

Ferrari used Sainz to give a tow to Leclerc down the straights and the Spaniard jumped out of the way at Turn 11. The added advantage gave Leclerc provisional pole position, albeit by the tiniest of margins of 0.008 seconds.

The other drivers were on used set of soft tyres on the first run. In the second set of flying laps, Sainz again towed Leclerc and he took pole position.

Leclerc was 0.304 seconds faster than Verstappen. A good strategic decision by Ferrari to give him the edge.

Pérez who has struggled all weekend finished in third position. The two Oracle Red Bull Racing drivers will work in tandem against the pole-sitter Leclerc on race day.

Hamilton with a good final lap slotted into fourth position ahead of Norris and Russell. The battle of the Britons will resume on race day.

Alonso, Tsunoda, Sainz and Magnussen rounded off the top ten positions.

Top 10: Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen, Sergio Pérez, Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris, George Russell, Fernando Alonso, Yuki Tsunoda, Carlos Sainz, Kevin Magnussen

2022 French Grand Prix Qualification Results:

116Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1:31.7271:31.2161:30.87217
21Max VerstappenNEDOracle Red Bull Racing1:31.8911:31.9901:31.17614
311Sergio PerezMEXOracle Red Bull Racing1:32.3541:32.1201:31.33520
444Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:33.0411:32.2741:31.76519
54Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1:32.6721:32.7771:32.03214
663George RussellGBRMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:33.1091:32.6331:32.13120
714Fernando AlonsoESPBWT Alpine F1 Team1:32.8191:32.6311:32.55217
822Yuki TsunodaJAPScuderia AlphaTauri1:33.3941:32.8361:32.78020
955Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari1:32.2971:31.081DNF10
1020Kevin MagnussenDENHaas F1 Team1:32.7561:32.6499
113Daniel RicciardoAUSMcLaren F1 Team1:33.4041:32.92212
1231Esteban OconFRABWT Alpine F1 Team1:33.3461:33.04812
1377Valtteri BottasFINAlfa Romeo Racing1:33.0341:33.05213
145Sebastian VettelGERAston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team1:33.2851:33.27615
1523Alexander AlbonTHAWilliams Racing1:33.4231:33.30711
1610Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri1:33.4397
1718Lance StrollCANAston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team1:33.4399
1824Zhou GuanyuCHNAlfa Romeo Racing1:33.6748
1947Mick SchumacherGERHaas F1 Team1:33.7019
206Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing1:33.7946
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