Max Verstappen will start tomorrow’s Formula One French Grand Prix on pole position, closely followed by Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, promising an extreme battle under the French sun.
The first specificity of today’s qualifying session proved to be the difficulty to bring tires in the right temperature window, and especially to keep them inside this specific interval. The drivers opted for excessively slow out-laps to prevent their front tires from overheating.
Pierre Gasly was the first to take off for a flying lap on the French asphalt. The home hero was forced to abort this attempt after a few seconds when his teammate lost control of his single-seater and was unable to relaunch himself. The red flag was shown as no one had the opportunity to complete a timed lap.
The Ferraris were the first out on track at the restart. As Gasly, both Red Bulls, and both Mercedes set good times, securing a position in Q2 after one attempt, Leclerc’s time was insufficient and needed a second attempt to get through Q1.
With two minutes to go, Stroll, who saw his first timed lap get deleted due to track limits infringement had one single attempt remaining to make it into Q2. As the Canadian was about to start his last attempt, Schumacher finished his session in the wall. The session was once again red-flagged, forcing Stroll to start in P19, with no time set. Fortunately for the young German, his previous attempts were fast enough to ensure himself a place into Q2, although he crashed late in Q1.
Almost everyone started Q2 on medium tires as the compound proved to be faster than the softest one. After every driver finished their first attempt, the gaps once again proved to be closer than ever in Formula One and no team was confident enough to avoid a second try.
Everybody was therefore sent back on track for a second attempt with their second and last set of mediums on, except for Giovinazzi, Perez, and Ricciardo who seemed more confident on the softs.
Ocon was surprisingly flunked out of Q2, qualifying in P11 after failing to improve the first time he set. Vettel also failed to put a sufficiently fast lap together and was stuck in Q2.
Verstappen put his name on top of the Q3 rankings after everyone had completed their first attempt. At the term of the second try, as almost every driver was able to improve, Verstappen put together an unbelievably fast lap, getting through the 1 minute 30 barrier and rewarding himself with the pole position. Tomorrow’s race will however be everything but easy for the Dutch driver that is going to be trailed down by championship rival Hamilton and his teammate Bottas.
|20||Tsunoda||Alpha Tauri||No time|