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Commentary

F1 French GP Live Commentary and Updates - FP3 & Qualifying

Live Formula 1 updates for FP3 and Qualifying for the French Grand Prix.

By: James Newbold, Haydn Cobb

Summary

Summary

  • Verstappen takes pole at French GP, leading from Hamilton and Bottas
  • Schumacher (no time), Russell, Giovinazzi, Vettel and Ocon out in Q2
  • Tsunoda, Stroll, Mazepin, Raikkonen and Latifi out in Q1
  • Q1 was stopped after Schumacher hit barrier
  • Verstappen topped FP3 by significant 0.747s from Bottas at Circuit Paul Ricard

Leaderboard
1. Verstappen, Red Bull
2. Hamilton, Mercedes
3. Bottas, Mercedes
4. Perez, Red Bull
5. Sainz, Ferrari
6. Gasly, AlphaTauri
7. Leclerc, Ferrari
8. Norris, McLaren
9. Alonso, Alpine
10. Ricciardo, McLaren

Status: Stopped
Right, time to digest qualifying and investigate the reaction to that session ahead of the French GP. We'll be back tomorrow for the pre-race build-up, with lights out at 2pm BST (3pm local time). Until then, have a lovely afternoon!
That is also Red Bull's first F1 pole position at the French GP and sets up an intriguing grid with the two Mercedes directly behind polesitter Verstappen and Perez in fourth place. Bring on Sunday!

Here's the full report on an enthralling French GP qualifying: https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/f1-french-gp-verstappen-beats-hamilton-to-secure-pole-/6585860/

Verstappen on his French GP pole: "So far it has been a really positive weekend at a track where it has been a bit difficult for us. So to get pole position is really nice. No points are scored today but it is a great day and we have to finish it off tomorrow to get 25 points that we lost in Baku."

That is Verstappen's fifth F1 pole position of his career and first since the 2021 opener in Bahrain.

 

Sainz takes the 'best of the rest' honours in fifth place for Ferrari beating AlphaTauri's Gasly and the other Ferrari of Leclerc. Norris takes P8 with Alonso P9 and Ricciardo P10.

Bottas had momentarily jumped up to second place before he was displaced by Hamilton, with Perez also shuffled back late on to qualify in fourth place.

It is - Hamilton manages a 1m30.248s but it is only good enough for second place - so Verstappen takes pole position for the French GP!

Verstappen puts in a 1m29.990s to extend his advantage at the top, but is it enough?

Final lap time and Gasly jumps up to P4 for now, ahead of Leclerc and Bottas. The rest are charging around now so here we go!

"How was the out-lap compared to Max?" Hamilton asks over his team radio. "Pace is similar," is the response.

 

Three minutes of Q3 to go and it is almost time for the final runs. Advantage Verstappen by a useful margin but can he maintain it?

TV replays show Gasly going off the track at Turn 6 - by a few centimetres - but rules are rules so he loses that lap.

Perez slots into third place, a couple of tenths behind Hamilton, with Botas in fourth - 0.8s off Verstappen's provisional pole time.

Verstappen is on provisional pole with a 1m30.325s, with Hamilton taking second place with a 1m30.711s. That's a big margin to find - 0.386s to be precise.

Gasly loses his first timed effort for track limits at Turn 6, while Verstappen has been reported to have been off at Turn 2, but so far hasn't lost his lap.

The Mercedes and Red Bull drivers stay in the garage for the opening minute of Q3, letting the rest battle for position at the start, before joining the action. Verstappen is at the front of that train from Perez, Bottas and then Hamilton.

Here we go for Q3!
But forget about all that, for now at least, as it is almost time for Q3. Two Mercedes, two Red Bulls, two Ferraris, two McLarens, AlphaTauri's Gasly and Alpine's Alonso will contest the pole shootout.

One driver who did improve at the end of Q2 was Bottas who ended up topping the session with a 1m30.735s.

In fact, none of the drivers in the drop zone can improve by enough on their last laps meaning the order doesn't change. Out in Q2: Ocon, Vettel, Giovinazzi, Russell and Schumacher.

Gasly loses his last lap for track limits at Turn 6 but he is safe is P6. Ocon the biggest threat but he can't improve sufficiently and stays P11 meaning he is out in Q2.

Final lap time in Q2, as Leclerc moves up to P9 ahead of Ricciardo who is now in the danger zone.

"Lando we will be boxing this lap I am afraid, we will explain later," Norris is told over his McLaren team radio. He is currently P7 so he'll be sweating over his Q3 spot for the next couple of minutes.

Final Q2 runs coming up and most drivers are sticking to the mediums apart from Perez, Ricciardo and Giovinazzi.

Drivers in the Q2 drop zone: Ocon, Vettel, Giovinazzi, Russell (and Schumacher, but that isn't going to change after his crash).

Hamilton, on his second timed lap on this set of mediums, goes fastest with a 1m30.959s. A sign of things to come ahead of Q3?

The Alpine pair are last to set a lap time in Q2, with Alonso slotting into P7 and Ocon taking P9.

Verstappen pops in a 1m31.080s but his time at the top is short-lived as team-mate Perez beats him with a 1m30.971s. The Red Bulls look very strong on the mediums.

Norris gets his first lap of Q2 deleted for, you guessed it, Turn 6 track limits, so he'll need to go again.
 

Plenty of medium tyres on show at the start of this session - in fact everyone except Russell appears to be on the yellow-walled tyres.

With Schumacher's Haas safely recovered, it is time for Q2.

Schumacher lost control of his Haas on the exit of Turn 6 and banged into the barrier with the rear-left wheel of his car. We will need to wait and see if he requires a gearbox change, but for now the German will start the French GP from P15.

The red flag also signals the end of qualifying for Latifi, Raikkonen, Mazepin and Stroll as they didn't have a chance to improve on their times.

Schumacher has made it through to Q2 with the session stopped but he will take no further part in qualifying with his car badly damaged in his off. He is perfectly OK though, thankfully.

Red flag - Mick Schumacher has crashed!

"Should I go this lap?" Stroll asks his Aston Martin team. "Yes, you've got to go this lap," is the response. It is now or never with the end of Q1 looming.

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