French GP 2022

JULY 24, 2022

Race Notes - Verstappen cruises to French GP win

Max Verstappen, French GP 2022
© Red Bull

By Mark Karp

Max Verstappen won the French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard in his Red Bull. Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes GP took second place, 10.587 seconds behind the winner. George Russell in the second Mercedes took third place, 16.495 seconds behind the winner.

The win is Verstappen’s seventh of the 2022 season and 27th win of his career. Verstappen now holds a 63 point lead over Charles Leclerc in second place in the Drivers' Championship.

Hamilton’s second place is his fourth podium in a row. Hamilton, starting in his 300th race, took his 187th podium finish.

Alpine moves ahead of McLaren to take fourth in the Constructors’ Championship.

Sergio Perez (17.310s) in the second Red Bull was fourth, Carlos Sainz (28.872s) in the Ferrari, after starting last and a five-second penalty, finished fifth, Fernando Alonso (42.879s) in the Alpine-Renault was sixth - and takes the lead in all-time laps competed in Formula 1, Lando Norris (52.026s) in the McLaren-Mercedes was seventh, Esteban Ocon (56.959s) in the second Alpine was eighth, Daniel Ricciardo (1m00.372s) in the second McLaren was ninth, and Lance Stroll (1m02.549s) in the Aston Martin-Mercedes took the final points position, just ahead of his team mate Vettel.

Before the start, on a warm day, Leclerc is on pole with Verstappen alongside on the front row, Perez and Hamilton on row 2, Norris and Russel on row 3, Alonso and Tsunoda on row 4, and Ricciardo and Ocon rounding out the top ten. Sainz starting last.

The top 10 starting on medium tyres, a mix of medium and hard tyre behind, with a one or two stop strategy expected.

At the appointed time the cars came around on the formation lap to the grid - the lights went out and the race began with Leclerc getting out in the lead ahead of Verstappen, Hamiton, Perez, Alonso, Russell, Norris and Ricciardo.

On the first lap Tsunoda and Ocon come together, Tsunoda goes to the back. Magnussen up to 13th, gaining seven positions.

On lap 2 Verstappen is 1.2 seconds behind Leclerc.

On lap 3 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m38.117s, and has closed to 0.5 seconds.

Ocon is handed a five-second penalty for contact with Tsunoda on the opening lap.

On lap 4 Leclerc sets fast lap at 1m38.088s.

Perez is closing on Hamilton in third.

On lap 6 Verstappen gets right on the tail on Leclerc, but Leclerc defends and stays ahead of the Red Bull.

On lap 8 Magnussen makes a pitstop for hard tyres and rejoins last.

Sainz is up to 12th.

On lap 9 Schumacher pits for hard tyres as well.

At lap 10 Leclerc leads Verstappen by 0.9 seconds, followed by Hamilton (6.8s), Perez (9.6s), Russell (11.0s), Alonso (16.0s), Norris (19.3s), Ocon (23.0s), Ricciardo (24.6s) and Stroll (25.4s) in tenth, Sainz (26.4s) in 12th.

On lap 11 Sainz on hard tyres passes Vettel for 11th place.

On lap 13 Sainz passes Stroll for tenth.

On lap 14 Latifi passes Bottas for 15th.

On lap 15 Leclerc has edged out a little more of a lead to 1.7 seconds over Verstappen.

Ferrari tells Sainz that they are on “plan B”.

On lap 16 Verstappen pits from second changing to hard tyres and he rejoins in seventh.

On lap 17 Sainz passes Ricciardo for ninth. Verstappen passes Norris for sixth.

Red Bull tells Verstappen that he needs to push now.

On lap 18 leader Leclerc spins and ends up in the barriers at turn 11 and is out of the race. The safety car is out.

Leclerc mentions to the Ferrari team something about a throttle problem.

Most cars pit for new tyres, Verstappen on new tyres stays out and takes over the lead.

Sainz pits but pulls out almost hitting Latifi on his release.

Behind the safety car at lap 20, Verstappen leads Hamilton, Perez, Russell, Alonso, Norris, Ricciardo, Sainz, Ocon, Stroll, Albon, Gasly, Vettel, Bottas, Latifi, Zhou, Magnussen and Schumacher.

On lap 21 the race resumes with Verstappen pulling away. Sainz passes Ricciardo, then Norris.

On lap 22 Sainz passes Alonso for fifth place. Zhou and Schumacher touch, Schumacher spins but continues. Zhou pits for a new front wing.

Sainz is handed a five-second penalty for an unsafe release during the pitstop.

Zhou is handed a five-second penalty for causing a collision with Schumacher.

On lap 28 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m37.696s, and then again the next lap at 1m37.695s.

Sainz is closing on Russell in fourth.

On lap 30 Sainz passes Russell for fourth.

On lap 30 Verstappen sets another fast lap at 1m37.491s.

At lap 30 Verstappen leads Hamilton by 3.9 seconds, followed by Perez (6.2s), Sainz (9.3s), Russell (10.6s), Alonso (20.8s), Norris (22.5s), Ricciardo (24.6s), Ocon (25.8s) and Stroll (28.6s) in tenth place.

Hamilton ran wide in a corner, but continues.

Sainz is closing on Perez in third.

On lap 37 Gasly passes Magnussen for 13th.

Verstappen tells the team that he is struggling with the left front tyres.

On lap 38 Latifi and Magnussen touch, and Latifi spins but continues.

On lap 39 Vettel passes Albon for 11th.

Magnussen pits and retires.

At lap 40 Verstappen leads Hamilton by 8.4 seconds, followed by Perez (11.7s), Sainz (12.5s), Russell (15.0s), Alonso (35.6s), Norris (38.4s), Ricciardo (43.8s), Ocon (44.3s) and Stroll (47.0s) in tenth place.

Sainz and Perez battle for third place, and Sainz takes the position. Russell gets a run and tries to pass Perez and he runs wide.

Sainz pits, serves his five-second penalty and changes to medium tyres, and rejoins in ninth place.

Verstappen leads Hamilton, Perez, Russell, Alonso, Norris, Ricciardo, Ocon and Sainz.

On lap 44 Sainz passes Ocon, and then Ricciardo.

Russell complains that Perez hit him, Mercedes tells Russell to keep his head down and pass him again.

On lap 45 Sainz sets fast lap at 1m36.242s,

Sainz passes Norris for sixth place.

Ocon passes Ricciardo for eighth place.

On lap 46 Sainz sets another fast lap at 1m36.208s.

Russell is close to Perez.

Sainz passes Alonso for fifth place.

On lap 47 Sainz sets fast lap at 1m35.852s, and trails Russell by 21 seconds.

On lap 49 Zhou is stopped on the side of the track, the virtual safety car is out.

On lap 50 the virtual safety car is ended, and Russell passes Perez for third.

At lap 51 Verstappen leads Hamilton by 9.1 seconds, followed by Russell (16.8s), Perez (17.8s), Sainz (32.8s), Alonso (42.5s), Norris (49.4s), Ocon (56.5s), Ricciardo (59.3s) and Stroll (59.7s) in tenth.

On lap 51 Sainz sets another fast lap at 1m35.781s.

Perez is staying on the tail of Russell, but can’t get past.

Verstappen crosses the line first and takes the French GP ahead of Hamilton and Russell.