F1 French Grand Prix – Start time, how to watch, & more

Max Verstappen has taken pole position for the Formula 1 French Grand Prix. Here's how and when you can watch the race.

F1 French Grand Prix – Start time, how to watch, & more

The Red Bull driver claimed the fifth F1 pole position of his career, and first since the 2021 season-opener in Bahrain, with a stunning late lap at Circuit Paul Ricard to keep clear of Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. 

Hamilton will line up alongside Verstappen - who admitted he had not expected to perform so strongly relative to Mercedes on a circuit where it is unbeaten since its return to the calendar in 2018 - on the front row, beating Bottas for the first time all weekend to disprove a "myth" that his French GP struggles had been caused by swapping chassis with the Finn.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix winner Sergio Perez claimed fourth place for Red Bull after initially struggling for pace in practice, with Carlos Sainz Jr taking the ‘best of the rest’ tag in fifth place for Ferrari.

Home favourite Pierre Gasly will start from sixth place for AlphaTauri after his first timed effort in Q3 of qualifying was deleted for exceeding track limits at Turn 6.

Gasly has split the Ferrari pair with Monaco and Baku polesitter Charles Leclerc suffering what he called "a disaster" in seventh place, ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso.

Daniel Riccardo completed the top 10 in the sister McLaren.

Esteban Ocon narrowly missed out on the pole position shootout in 11th place for Alpine, but kept ahead of Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi.

George Russell produced his customary strong showing in qualifying to take 14th place for Williams, while Mick Schumacher made Q2 for the first time but was unable to take part in the session after crashing his Haas late on in Q1.

The first period of qualifying was halted twice for two red flags, the first for when AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda crashed at Turn 1, followed by the late stoppage due to Schumacher’s off at Turn 6.

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02, is assisted by marshals after crashing out in Q1

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02, is assisted by marshals after crashing out in Q1

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

When is the F1 French Grand Prix?

  • Date: Sunday 20th June 2021
  • Start time: 2:00pm BST, 3:00pm local time

The seventh round of the 2021 F1 season, the French GP at Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, gets underway at 3pm local time (2pm BST) on Sunday 20th June.

How can I watch the French GP?

In the United Kingdom, Sky Sports has exclusive live broadcasting rights of F1, with the French GP race shown live on Sky Sports F1. Pre-race coverage will be starting at 12:30pm BST ahead of the race start at 2:00pm BST.

After the race Sky Sports F1’s live coverage continues to follow the post-race reaction from when the chequered flag is waved until 5:30pm BST.

Autosport is running a live text commentary for the French GP

When can I watch the highlights?

In the United Kingdom Channel 4 is broadcasting highlights of the French GP at 6:30pm BST on Sunday. The full programme will run for two-and-a-half hours, covering the pre-race, the race highlights and the initial post-race reaction to wrap up the major talking points of the race weekend.

For the entire 2021 F1 season, Channel 4 will broadcast highlights of every qualifying and race on the Saturday and Sunday of each event. The highlights will also be available on Channel 4’s on demand catch up services.

  • Channel: Channel 4 
  • Start time: 6:30pm BST 

Will it be on the radio? 

Live radio coverage of every practice, qualifying and race for the 2021 F1 season will be available on the BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra stations.

Coverage of the French GP will start at 1:45pm BST on BBC Radio 5 Live, available online, on DAB radio and the BBC Sounds app.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Weather forecast for the French GP

Current weather forecasts predict cloudy but dry conditions, with a small possibility of rain before the race and some strong winds throughout race day. The temperature is expected to be 28 degrees Celsius for the start of the race – about five degrees warmer than the Azerbaijan GP.

How many laps is the French GP?

The race is scheduled to complete 53 laps of Circuit Paul Ricard, covering a total race distance of 309.69km.

Will there be fans at the French GP?

Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the French GP will be limited to a maximum capacity of 15,000 fans on each day of track action across the race weekend.

French GP starting grid

Cla Driver Chassis Engine Time Gap
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda 1'29.990  
2 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Mercedes 1'30.248 0.258
3 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes Mercedes 1'30.376 0.386
4 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull Honda 1'30.445 0.455
5 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari Ferrari 1'30.840 0.850
6 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda 1'30.868 0.878
7 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari Ferrari 1'30.987 0.997
8 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes 1'31.252 1.262
9 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault 1'31.340 1.350
10 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes 1'31.382 1.392
11 France Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault 1'31.736 1.746
12 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes 1'31.767 1.777
13 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari 1'31.813 1.823
14 United Kingdom George Russell Williams Mercedes 1'32.065 2.075
15 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari    
16 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes 1'33.062 3.072
17 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Ferrari 1'33.354 3.364
18 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas Ferrari 1'33.554 3.564
19 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes 2'12.584 42.594
20 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda    
shares
comments
Leclerc explains front-end struggles behind qualifying "disaster"

Previous article

Leclerc explains front-end struggles behind qualifying "disaster"

Next article

How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era

How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era
Load comments
The unexpected benefit of F1’s sprint race repeat Plus

The unexpected benefit of F1’s sprint race repeat

OPINION: Formula 1's sprint race trial at Silverstone drew mixed feedback on Saturday, but there remained the true test of how it would impact Sunday's Grand Prix. While fans were busy marvelling at Fernando Alonso's progress, a key lesson was being learned that would directly contribute to the dramatic lap one clash at Copse the following day

Formula 1
Jul 22, 2021
The off-track considerations that led to F1’s Hamilton/Verstappen Silverstone shunt Plus

The off-track considerations that led to F1’s Hamilton/Verstappen Silverstone shunt

OPINION: Formula 1’s 2021 title fight turned ugly last weekend when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided at the start of the British Grand Prix. Verstappen thankfully walked away unharmed, but this had been a clash long-since coming

Formula 1
Jul 21, 2021
Will 2022's all-new cars look like F1's concept model? Plus

Will 2022's all-new cars look like F1's concept model?

Formula 1 provided its clearest example yet of what the 2022 cars are set to look like when it presented a full-scale concept to the world during the build-up to last weekend’s British Grand Prix. Underneath the special shiny livery was a design that hinted at the future, but teams will be digging into key areas that may reap differing results

Formula 1
Jul 20, 2021
British Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

British Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 British Grand Prix will live long in the memory for the dramatic clash between Formula 1's two title protagonists, which opened the door for other drivers to capitalise. One did so in spectacular fashion, while others fluffed their lines

Formula 1
Jul 19, 2021
How Leclerc almost defied Hamilton after F1 title rivals’ Silverstone clash Plus

How Leclerc almost defied Hamilton after F1 title rivals’ Silverstone clash

A poor start for Valtteri Bottas and the lap one clash between Formula 1's 2021 title protagonists gave Charles Leclerc a surprise lead in the British Grand Prix that he almost held to the end. Here's how the Ferrari driver came close to a famous victory, ultimately denied by a recovering Lewis Hamilton three laps from home

Formula 1
Jul 19, 2021
The signs that suggest Mercedes can win the Silverstone F1 race Plus

The signs that suggest Mercedes can win the Silverstone F1 race

Red Bull and Max Verstappen scored an early blow against Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes at Silverstone, with sprint qualifying race victory. But that doesn’t mean Sunday’s grand prix is a foregone conclusion. Although Verstappen starts as the favourite, here’s why Mercedes still holds hope of winning

Formula 1
Jul 18, 2021
Uncovering Silverstone's engineering secrets for F1 success Plus

Uncovering Silverstone's engineering secrets for F1 success

Formula 1 returns to Silverstone this weekend, but despite its familiarity to all the teams it is no picnic. Here are five of the key points for engineers to consider prior to the British Grand Prix

Formula 1
Jul 16, 2021
The changing faces of F1’s British GP conquerors Plus

The changing faces of F1’s British GP conquerors

The British Grand Prix is where the world championship began in 1950. STUART CODLING looks at six of Formula 1's era-defining cars which have all scored memorable victories in its original race

Formula 1
Jul 15, 2021