Sunday's 2022 Formula 1 French Grand Prix will be a race Charles Leclerc will want to forget.
The Ferrari driver was dominant all weekend and looked set to secure his fourth win of the season, but instead earned himself his third retirement. He succumbed to a case of snap oversteer at Turn 11 on lap 18, which sent him into the barriers, ending his race and bringing out the safety car.
This handed the lead spot to Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen who went on to take home the win. Mercedes-Benz AMG's Lewis Hamilton finished second, 10.587s seconds after Verstappen, while fellow Mercedes driver George Russell finished third, 16.495 seconds after the winner.
When the lights turned green at a blisteringly hot Circuit Paul Ricard, Leclerc easily pulled away from Verstappen who started at second on the grid. Fellow Red Bull driver Sergio Perez started at third but was soon passed by Hamilton, but managed to stay ahead of Russell in fifth.
Ferrari at the 2022 Formula 1 French Grand Prix
Leclerc managed to hold off Verstappen despite a few attempts by the Red Bull driver to overtake. Likewise, Hamilton was able to hold back Perez. Meanwhile, Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, who started at the back of the grid due to engine penalties, was slowly making his way up the order.
Sainz reached as high as third in the second half of the race, ahead of Russell and Perez, but unfortunately an earlier unsafe release as he left the pits earned him a five-second penalty. He thus had to pit again to take the penalty. He would ultimately finish fifth, taking home a bonus point for the fastest lap along the way. Ahead of him was Perez who took home fourth.
There were few other dramas, though Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu stopped in the run-off area at Turn 5 on lap 49, causing the virtual safety car to be deployed.
Following the weekend's action, Verstappen's lead in the 2022 Drivers' Championship has further extended, with the Red Bull driver now sitting on 233 points. Leclerc remains in second with 170 points and Perez remains in third with 163 points. In the Constructors' Championship, Red Bull leads with 396 points, versus the 314 of Ferrari and 270 of Mercedes. The battle continues this weekend with round 13, the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Mercedes-Benz AMG at the 2022 Formula 1 French Grand Prix
Below are the full results from the 2022 Formula 1 French Grand Prix:
1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing
2) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-Benz AMG +10.587 seconds
3) George Russell, Mercedes-Benz AMG +16.495 seconds
4) Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing +17.310 seconds
5) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari +28.872 seconds
6) Fernando Alonso, Alpine +42.879 seconds
7) Lando Norris, McLaren +52.026 seconds
8) Esteban Ocon, Alpine +56.959 seconds
9) Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren +60.372 seconds
10) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin +62.549 seconds
11) Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin +64.494 seconds
12) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri +65.448 seconds
13) Alexander Albon, Williams +68.565 seconds
14) Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo +76.666 seconds
15) Mick Schumacher, Haas +80.394 seconds
16) Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo +6 laps
NC) Nicholas Latifi, Williams - DNF
NC) Kevin Magnussen, Haas - DNF
NC) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari - DNF
NC) Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri - DNF