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Live: F1 French GP commentary and updates - Qualifying

Live commentary and updates for the 2022 edition of the Formula 1 French Grand Prix, taking place at Paul Ricard this weekend.

Live: F1 French GP commentary and updates - Qualifying

Ferrari heads into the race at the Le Castellet circuit on the back of two victories: Carlos Sainz took his maiden win at Silverstone, while Charles Leclerc claimed the spoils last time out in Austria.

Max Verstappen still leads the title battle, but now 38 points clear of Leclerc as the Monegasque displaced Sergio Perez from second in the standings. 

Sainz's power unit fire meant he left the Red Bull Ring without any points, and now faces a 10-place grid penalty for a change in control electronics. 

The Spaniard led Friday's timesheets from Ferrari team-mate Leclerc, who was fastest in FP1, while Verstappen led the Ferrari duo in Saturday's FP3.

By: Stephen Lickorish, Lewis Duncan, Megan White

Summary

Summary
  • Leclerc grabs F1 French GP qualifying pole after using tow from Ferrari team-mate Sainz
  • Red Bulls of Verstappen and Perez are second and third
  • Norris splits Hamilton and Russell in best of the rest battle
  • Sainz and Magnussen to start from back of grid after taking engine penalties
Leaderboard
  1. Leclerc, Ferrari
  2. Verstappen, Red Bull
  3. Perez, Red Bull
  4. Hamilton, Mercedes
  5. Norris, McLaren
  6. Russell, Mercedes
  7. Alonso, Alpine
  8. Tsunoda, AlphaTauri
Status: Stopped
That's all for today folks. Stay tuned to Autosport.com for all of the post-qualifying reaction this evening. 

We will be back tomorrow for live coverage of the race, which will get underway at 2pm BST.
Here is the full qualifying report for the French Grand Prix: https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/f1-french-gp-leclerc-pips-verstappen-to-pole-after-sainz-tow/10342232/
The penalties for Sainz and Magnussen will promote Ricciardo up to ninth and Ocon to 10th.
Verstappen's crew chief tells him he might have had "an unfavourable wind" on his final lap.
Leclerc praises Sainz on the radio for that pole. "Grande Carlos," he tells his team.
Russell is sixth from Alonso, Tsunoda, Sainz and Magnussen - the latter two not setting lap times.
Perez holds onto third ahead of Hamilton as Norris splits the Mercedes drivers in fifth.
Verstappen cannot dethrone the Ferrari driver on his last lap, he is 0.304s adrift.
Leclerc takes pole with a 1m30.872s!
Chequered flag is out.
Leclerc has found even more time in sector two thanks to that tow from Sainz!
Verstappen is slow through sector one on this lap.
Leclerc goes purple through sector one as he closes in on Sainz to get the tow.
Sainz returns to the track on used rubber again ahead of Leclerc.
Red Bull has set Perez out on a fresh set of softs, so that suggests the team is letting him do his own thing.
Now, does Red Bull sacrifice Perez to do the same to give Verstappen a help to negate Ferrari's strategy?
Ferrari's plan worked on the first lap, but 0.008s isn't a massive advantage to have over Red Bull.
After the first flying laps, Leclerc, Verstappen, Perez, Russell, Hamilton, Norris, Alonso, Tsunoda, Sainz (who hasn't set a time) and Magnussen (who hasn't set a time) is your top 10 with just over six minutes to go.
Leclerc now goes top with a 1m31.209s, with Verstappen second - 0.008s behind the Ferrari. Hamilton goes fourth.
Perez sets the benchmark at 1m31.6s at the top of the timesheet.
Sainz has backed off on the back straight to give Leclerc a slipstream.
Magnussen is the only driver not out on track, which makes sense given he has nothing to fight for with his penalties.
Sainz is out on a used set of tyres and is circulating ahead of his team-mate Leclerc. Is this now Ferrari enacting is tow plan?
The pole shootout session is go!
Sainz leads a Ferrari 1-2 in that session from Verstappen, Perez, Hamilton, Alonso, Russell, Magnussen, Norris, Magnussen.
Ricciardo was just 0.086s outside of a Q3 place in his McLaren, showing how tight the midfield battle in F1 is right now.
Ricciardo, Ocon, Bottas, Vettel and Albon fail to progress to Q3.
Hamilton goes fifth, pushing Ricciardo out of qualifying. Chequered flag is out.
Russell goes from 15th to sixth, pushing Bottas to the cusp.
Ocon jumps to sixth fastest on his last lap. Vettel stays in 11th, he is out of qualifying.
Just a few minutes left in Q2. Mercedes haven't set a lap on fresh tyres yet in this session, but both drivers aren't looking particularly quick today.
In the knockout zone, Vettel has overtaken Russell in 11th. Bottas only had about 0.030s in hand to get him into Q3 in 10th currently.
Sainz sets a mighty lap of 1m31.081s to go top of the pile, 0.909s clear of Verstappen.
Sainz has gone onto a flying lap on fresh soft rubber, so Ferrari definitely looking to get him into Q3 despite his penalties.
With eight minutes of Q2 to go Russell is out in 11th, as is Ocon, Albon, Tsunoda and Sainz.
Verstappen leads Perez and Leclerc, with Norris, Magnussen, Ricciardo, Alonso, Hamilton, Bottas, Vettel completing the top 10.
Verstappen now takes over from his Red Bull team-mate with a 1m31.990s.
Perez now fastest with a 1m32.120s.
Top spot now goes to Norris in the McLaren with a 1m32.777s, which was set on new soft rubber.
Hamilton sets the early pace with a 1m33.329s from Russell on used rubber.