Hamilton and Russell handed Mercedes their first double podium this season.
Max Verstappen cruised to victory in the French GP – taking his seventh win this season – after benefitting from Charles Leclerc crashing out of the lead. Mercedes scored their first double podium this season, with Lewis Hamilton second and George Russell third.
- Verstappen wins, 10.587 secs ahead of Hamilton
- Leads championship by 63 points
- Leclerc crashes out of lead
Leclerc admits fault for French GP crash
After a series of missed opportunities, Leclerc has been looking to claw back some points in the championship battle. Ferrari pulled off the perfect tow strategy to ensure Leclerc started on pole, but tyre degradation was still a key concern, especially with the rising temperatures.
The Ferrari driver did well to protect his lead in the early stages of the race, and even managed pulling out of DRS range from Verstappen. But he made a crucial error on lap 18. Coming through Turn 11, the rear of his car stepped out and he crashed into the barriers.
Speaking after the race, a visibly upset Leclerc admitted fault for the crash. This is the third time this year that he has retired from the lead of a race and it puts him 63 points behind Verstappen now.
Verstappen wins to extend title lead
It was smooth sailing for Verstappen from there on, as he went on to clinch his seventh victory this year. “I think we had really good pace from the start,” he said.
“I was putting pressure on Charles. But following around here with this heat, the tyres are overheating, I could never really go for a move, only once into Turn 11. But we just tried to stay calm, try to stay close. Of course, we pitted a bit early and from then onwards you never know how the race is going to go. But the car was quick today, and of course unlucky for Charles – I hope he is okay.”
“From there onwards I just did my race, looked after the tyres, and because of the pit lane being so long, you couldn’t do another stop, so you had to stay out, but the tyres were wearing a lot. It was all about looking after the tyres until the end.”
Double podium for Mercedes
Hamilton finished just over 10 seconds behind in second place, making his fourth consecutive podium appearance.
There was a fierce battle for third place, with Ferrari’s remaining driver Carlos Sainz, Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Mercedes’ George Russell all in contention.
After starting from 19th on the grid due to engine penalties, Sainz had fought his way up the order. On lap 31, he passed Perez to move up to third place, but he still had a five-second time penalty to worry about (handed to him for an unsafe release). Ferrari opted to pit him for fresh tyres soon after, citing tyre life as a concern, and he served his penalty in the pits. But this dropped him all the way down to ninth place with just a handful of laps to go.
This left Russell and Perez to battle it out for final podium spot. The two made contact at Turn 8, but Russell ended up gaining the upper hand. Sainz recovered to finish fifth.
McLaren and Alpine were level on points heading into the French GP, but with Fernando Alonso (P6) finishing ahead of Lando Norris (P7), and Esteban Ocon (P8) ahead of Daniel Ricciardo (P9), Alpine moved ahead in the standings. Lance Stroll completed the top 10 after fending off teammate Sebastian Vettel in a last lap scrap.
Up next on the calendar is the Hungarian GP on July 29-31.
2022 French GP results
|2022 French GP results|
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing|
|4||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing|
|10||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin|
|11||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin|
|14||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo|
|16||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo|