Charles Leclerc will probably want to forget his qualifying runs at the French Grand Prix. They could be described at a minimum as “difficult” and Charles might have been heard muttering the description “disaster”. He finished the first segment of qualifying a disappointing P12 before going P9 in Q2 – but finally managing to take seventh on the grid after his second run in Q3.
He had complained over the team radio during Q3 that he was struggling with his front tyres.
Charles Leclerc, as always magnanimous, credited his teammate Carlos Sainz with doing an amazing job putting his car on P5 and being consistently quicker.
As for the race itself things went from bad to worse and Leclerc admitted Ferrari must address the very bad deterioration after he fell to 16th place in the race.
The Monegasque ace noted he was at a loss to understand the tyre problems which forced him to finish so poorly. At the chequered flag he was ahead of just three other cars after pitting twice.
Team mate Carlos Sainz also failed to win any points finishing the race in 11th place. Both drivers had tyre problems starting on the medium compound then switching to hards. Leclerc then pitted for another set of mediums.
As for the podium places it was Max Verstappen who increased his lead at the top of the Formula One championship with a sensational win.
Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton with little over a lap to go. The Red Bull team had chosen to go with two pit stops during the race while Hamilton and Mercedes pitted only once. It meant the Verstappen was faster in the final stages, overtaking Mercedes’ Valtterri Bottas on lap 44 before setting his sights on Hamilton.
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez completed the podium behind Hamilton as he also overtook a disappointed Bottas in the closing stages
The victory moves Verstappen 12 points ahead of Hamilton in the overall standings. It was a third consecutive race win for Red Bull.