French GP Qualifying: Charles Leclerc storms to pole position ahead of title rival Max Verstappen
July 23 2022 , 10:45 pm
Charles Leclerc will start on pole position for the French Grand Prix after a superb final lap of qualifying saw off the threat of Max Verstappen.
Leclerc and Verstappen, who are locked in a thrilling title battle, were split by just 0.008s heading into the closing stages but the Ferrari driver found huge improvement when it mattered most and took pole by three-tenths of a second.
Leclerc was helped by a tow from team-mate Carlos Sainz – who will be at the back of the grid for Sunday’s race due to engine penalties – and the result continues his new-found momentum as he bids to eat into Verstappen’s 38-point lead.
“Without Carlos, it would have been much closer, so a huge thanks to him,” said Leclerc.
Sergio Perez was third for the Red Bull – meaning Leclerc will have two charging Bulls to contend with – and he will be joined on the second row by Lewis Hamilton, although Mercedes yet again struggled at Paul Ricard.
Hamilton was the lead Silver Arrow but a whopping 0.893s off Leclerc, while George Russell was outpaced by Lando Norris after an epic final effort from the Brit in an upgraded McLaren landed him fifth.