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Leclerc takes stunning pole as Ferrari ace qualifying strategy

Leclerc takes stunning pole as Ferrari ace qualifying strategy

Leclerc takes stunning pole as Ferrari ace qualifying strategy

Leclerc takes stunning pole as Ferrari ace qualifying strategy

Charles Leclerc will start on pole for the French Grand Prix after Ferrari aced its qualifying strategy.

Max Verstappen will start second ahead of Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez after finishing three-tenths down on Leclerc's benchmark of a one minute, 30.872secs.

Carlos Sainz had set a daunting marker for Red Bull to attack in Q2, finishing nine-tenths up on Verstappen's time.

The Spaniard was then deployed as a slipstream creator for Leclerc as Ferrari attempted to fend from the Red Bull's superior straight-line speed down the double-dose of the Mistral Straight.

Mercedes survived a scare in Q2 before Lewis Hamilton secured fourth on the grid ahead of Lando Norris, who utilised his updated McLaren.

Norris escaped a penalty for alleged impeding in FP3, making his qualifying session even sweeter.

George Russell qualified sixth ahead of Fernando Alonso, who continued his fine form with seventh for Alpine, and Yuki Tsunoda in the AlphaTauri.

Sainz and Kevin Magnussen failed to set a time in the final session with their overhanging engine penalties sending them to the back of the grid.

Ricciardo knocked out in hectic Q2

McLaren had looked improved in free practice and Q1 with a raft of upgrades made to the MCL36 but whilst Norris made it through to Q3, Daniel Ricciardo fell out in the second session.

The positive is that the margin between the team-mates was only one-and-a-half tenths but that was the difference between ninth and 11th in Q2.

Esteban Ocon couldn't reach the shootout in his home race but will start 10th when penalties are applied, with Valtteri Bottas next up for Alfa Romeo.

Sebastian Vettel could finish only 14th, although the German was hampered by a lack of FP3 running earlier in the day. Alex Albon completed the eliminated drivers.

Schumacher and Haas dispute track limit ruling

The high track temperatures bit on the final lap of Q1 as Zhou Guanyu avoided a crash after losing the rear-end at turn six, whilst Albon rotated at the turn eight-nine chicane.

The spin for the Williams driver hampered those behind him, though Mick Schumacher and Vettel found time on their laps.

Pierre Gasly was eliminated at his home race but will start 14th with the penalties to Magnussen and Sainz, with Lance Stroll behind - who complained of traffic in the final sector.

Zhou unsurprisingly failed to improve after his moment whilst Schumacher had his time deleted for exceeding track limits, leaving him 17th on the grid and triggering confusion over team radio.

Haas believed Schumacher's lap was fair and prepared to run in Q2 but to no avail as his car had crossed the inside white line at the turn three apex.

Nicholas Latifi was slowest in the second Williams.

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