Verstappen wins in France as Leclerc crashes out

Seventh win in 2022 for reigning champion as Mercedes secure first double podium of season

LE CASTELLET, FRANCE - JULY 24: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 leads Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W13 during the F1 Grand Prix of France at Circuit Paul Ricard on July 24, 2022 in Le Castellet, France. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202207240279 // Usage for editorial use only //

Max Verstappen secured his seventh win of the 2022 Formula 1 season, benefitting after Charles Leclerc crashed out from the lead at the French Grand Prix.

The race at Le Castellet also saw Mercedes have both drivers on the podium for the first time this season, as Lewis Hamilton secured second, while George Russell overtook Sergio Perez late on to pick up third.

Hamilton and Fernando Alonso both picked up places off the startline, while Kevin Magnussen gained eight positions in the first two laps, having started at the back of the field.

Yuki Tsunoda found himself tumbling down the order after Esteban Ocon tried to pass the Japanese driver on the inside, bouncing off the kerb and bumping into the AlphaTauri, resulting in a five-second time penalty for Ocon.

Verstappen got within DRS range of Leclerc after a few laps, but while the Red Bull was faster on the straights, the Ferrari was better through the corners, ensuring the Monegasque driver remained in front.

Verstappen was the first of the front runners to stop for new tyres, while Leclerc continued. However, the Ferrari driver’s day came to an abrupt end when the rear end of his car stepped out, sending him into the tyre barrier, with Leclerc reporting a stuck throttle over the radio.

Leclerc’s crash resulted in a safety car, and there was a near miss for his teammate Carlos Sainz when he came into the pitlane for new tyres, as he was released into the path of Alex Albon, forcing the Williams driver to brake hard to avoid contact, and giving the Spaniard a five-second time penalty.

Tsunoda had managed to continue after his early contact with Ocon, but the damage proved too much, forcing AlphaTauri to retire the car during the safety car period.

Guanyu Zhou had to make a second trip into the pitlane shortly after the safety car period ended as he tangled with Mick Schumacher, leaving the rookie with a broken front wing.

With 10 laps to go, Sainz was showing strong pace, passing Perez to move up to third, but the team brought him in for a second pitstop, giving him fresh tyres for the closing stages of the race, and allowing him to serve his time penalty, but dropping him down to ninth.

Kevin Magnussen and Nicholas Latifi came together while battling towards the back of the field, forcing both to retire early, while Russell tried to pass Perez for third, but the two made contact, allowing the Mexican to stay ahead.

With just a few laps remaining, Zhou’s Alfa Romeo ground to a halt on track, resulting in a late virtual safety car. When the green flag was shown, Russell made a much faster start than Perez, moving him up into the final podium position.

Provisional classification:

1 Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

3. George Russell (Mercedes)

4. Sergio Perez (Red Bull)

5. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)

6. Fernando Alonso (Alpine)

7. Lando Norris (McLaren)

8. Esteban Ocon (Alpine)

9. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)

10. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)

11. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin)

12. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)

13. Alex Albon (Williams)

14. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo)

15. Mick Schumacher (Haas)


Guanyu Zhou (Alf aRomeo)

Nicholas Latifi (Williams)

Kevin Magnussen (Haas)

Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)

Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

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