Max Verstappen wins French GP, Lewis Hamilton finishes second
- Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has won the 2022 French Grand Prix
- Lewis Hamilton delivered the best results today since the start of the season
- Charles Leclerc could not finish the race as he crashed into the wall
Charles Leclerc’s chances of winning the F1 world championship were severely damaged when he crashed out of the lead at the French Grand Prix, giving victory to Max Verstappen.
Verstappen also made substantial progress toward winning his second world championship.
The Red Bull driver easily defeated Lewis Hamilton, which saw the seven-time F1 world champion settle for the second position.
George Russell Hamilton’s teammate finished third, giving Mercedes its first double podium. Redbull driver Sergio Pérez finished fourth, and Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz, who started from position 19, finished fifth.
In a race that was marked by the moment, Leclerc made an unusual blunder that handed his championship chances a severe hit, and Verstappen’s victory from second on the grid was unspectacular.
With only ten races left in the season, Verstappen’s victory has critically increased. Charles Leclerc sits in the second position with 63 points. The reversal demonstrates how robust and reliable Red Bull has been this season.
Verstappen has won this race for the sixth time in the past nine, giving him 27 victories in his career. Since the race’s return to the schedule in 2018, he has become the ever first driver to triumph from outside the pole position.
Lewis Hamilton surged out of his blocks and overtook Pérez to claim third, while Leclerc made a perfect getaway from pole to maintain the lead.
Over the first three laps, Leclerc could not pass Verstappen, who was still within DRS’s zone, as the duo fell behind Hamilton by more than five seconds.
Verstappen attempted to utilise his DRS when he was within target range on lap 6, but Leclerc maintained a firm defensive line. In a straight line, Verstappen appeared to have a somewhat faster pace, but not by enough to overtake. Hamilton outran Pérez by a solid one second, though.
Until Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc managed to pull out with almost two seconds on his competitor, the two championship contenders in the lead were intertwined, following each other almost precisely for pace.
Verstappen retreated to take his time and maintain his tyres.
Leclerc remained out as Veaterppen dutifully pulled on lap 16 to take the hard tyres and attempt the undercut, but calamity struck two laps later.
At turn 11, he overheated it, losing the rear, and crashed into the wall before acknowledging his error.
He screamed in anger and frustration after receiving a cruel blow and emerged from his car unharmed.
As soon as the safety car was deployed, Hamilton made a free quick stop and came out second to the Dutchman when the action continued on lap 21.
As has been the case throughout this season, the Mercedes appeared faster in the race than in practice, but not by enough to catch Verstappen, who created a three-second gap.
Fernando Alonso finished sixth while his colleague Esteban Ocon finished eighth.