Charles LeClerc drives his Ferrari to pole position for the French Grand Prix

Jean Alesi presenting Charles LeClerc with the Pirelli Pole Position Award. Credit: [email protected]

Ferrari will start in pole position for the Franch Grand Prix courtesy of a stunning Q3 drive from Charles LeClerc.

 

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc will start from the front of the grid in the French Grand Prix. Aided by his teammate Carlos Sainz, the Frenchman pipped title rival Max Verstappen by 0.304 seconds this afternoon, Saturday, July 23, in the final qualifying session.

This is LeClerc’s seventh pole out of 12 races this year, and present’s him with an opportunity of closing the gap on the Dutch world champion tomorrow, Sunday, July 24.

Sainz had been hit with a grid penalty after using too many engines, and will start from the back of the grid on Sunday. Ferrari used this situation to try and give their other driver a shot at pole by getting LeClerc to slipstream the Spaniard to pick up a faster lap time. 

Their initial attempt saw a lap time of only 0.008secs more than Verstappen, but the next time around, the tactic worked perfectly, resulting in the fastest lap to gain pole position. As LeClerc later commented, “Carlos judged it perfectly and got out of the way at the right moment”.

Verstappen will be alongside LeClerc on the front row, and was delighted with his second place: “It’s tricky to find the right balance around here, but all in all the front row is a solid result, and we still have a good car for tomorrow’s race. Full focus ahead now to put up a battle tomorrow”, he tweeted @Max33Verstappen.

Sergio Perez in the other Red Bull, will start just behind his teammate in third. Lewis Hamilton pulled a superb drive out of the bag to place his Mercedes in fourth.

Lando Norris took fifth in the McLaren, with George Russell’s Mercedes in sixth. Alpine driver Fernando Alonso once again performed brilliantly to get seventh on the grid, and the young Japanese star Yuki Tsunoda gained eighth for tomorrow’s start. Kevin Magnussen had placed his Haas in the top 10 but was demoted to the back of the grid along with Sainz.

Sainz had been flying in the Q2 session and was looking to be in contention for pole if he continued his speed in Q3, but the penalty put paid to that and it was then all down to teamwork to help LeClerc be at the front on Sunday.

“Unfortunately the penalty comes at a point in the season when I am feeling at the best with the car. I have been all weekend very fast”, the Spanish driver commented. “But obviously, because of the penalty, the target was to get to Q3 and give the tow to Charles, which I think I did pretty well. I think it was pretty nailed. I am happy for the team”.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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