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Verstappen scores first pole since Bahrain at Paul Ricard; Hamilton second

Verstappen scores first pole since Bahrain at Paul Ricard; Hamilton second

F1 News

Verstappen scores first pole since Bahrain at Paul Ricard; Hamilton second

Verstappen scores first pole since Bahrain at Paul Ricard; Hamilton second

Max Verstappen topped a dramatic qualifying session at the French Grand Prix that was twice interrupted by red flags.

Verstappen backed up his early weekend pace to score his second pole position of the F1 season as Lewis Hamilton bounced back from his difficult start.

With a time of one minute 29.990secs, the Dutchman was the only driver to duck under the 90-second mark with Hamilton recovering with a last-ditch effort to join his title rival on the front row, the Mercedes driver missing out on pole by 0.258s.

Valtteri Bottas, who had looked strong all weekend, is third ahead of Sergio Perez.

After recording back to back poles through Charles Leclerc, Ferrari qualified fifth and seventh with Carlos Sainz the faster of the two drivers.

Pierre Gasly was sixth at his home race whilst Lando Norris, Fernando Alonso and Daniel Ricciardo completed the top 10.

As drivers began their first timed laps of Q1, Yuki Tsunoda caused the red flags to fly after losing control of the rear of his AlphaTauri through turn one.

The Japanese rookie backed the car into the barriers and was unable to get going again. It was Tsunoda's second such incident in Q1 this year after crashing at Imola and follows his Q3 crash last time out in Azerbaijan.

With 22 seconds remaining on the clock, the session was brought to a premature close when Mick Schumacher found the barriers at turn six. As was the case with Tsunoda, this was not the German's first incident in qualifying this season.

The lack of time remaining on the clock meant Q1 was not restarted meaning Nicholas Latifi, Kimi Raikkonen, Nikita Mazepin and Lance Stroll were the drivers to miss out on a Q2 berth, Stroll failing to register a time for Aston Martin after his first time was deleted for a track limits infringement.

Continuing his perfect run of Q2 appearances this year for Williams, George Russell was the only driver on the first runs to use the soft tyres. All the remaining drivers used the medium tyres with high levels of degradation making it the preferred tyre with which to start the race.

On the second runs, Daniel Ricciardo and Antonio Giovinazzi also switched to soft tyres as did Sergio Perez, although the Mexican was not aiming for an improved time being second already.

Of the two, Ricciardo slowed late on knowing he was already safe and Giovinazzi failed to improve.

Before completing his out lap, Lando Norris received a concerning radio message instructing him to return to the garage immediately. With no details forthcoming, the driver was told only that the issue would be explained later.

Alongside Schumacher, Esteban Ocon, Sebastian Vettel, Giovinazzi and Russell failed to reach the top 10.

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