Charles Leclerc gets a tow to pole for the F1 French Grand Prix

LE CASTELLET, FRANCE – JULY 22: Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari F1-75 on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of France at Circuit Paul Ricard on July 22, 2022 in Le Castellet, France. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)


The last time Ferrari led from the pole for the F1 French Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc wasn’t even born.

Leclerc put a Ferrari on pole for the French GP for the first time since 1990 thanks in part to a little help from his teammate.

Carlos Sainz, who already knew he would be starting from the back of the field Sunday thanks to an engine penalty, helped Leclerc get a tow on his flying lap allowing him to hold off Max Verstappen.

“It was a great lap,” Leclerc said. “I’ve struggled all weekend to put a lap together and I managed to put it, but I have to say that I also had the help of Carlos and that was amazing teamwork because without Carlos it would have been much more close, so huge thanks to Carlos and I hope that he can join us back in the fight for the win tomorrow.”

Verstappen, who led free practice 3, will start from the front row Sunday said his Red Bull team has been struggling with the balance of the car all weekend.

“I think overall with the conditions out there it’s difficult to know what’s going to happen,” Verstappen said of Sunday. “The tires; to get them in the right window is really tough.

“Maybe it’s just related to the track layout with the heat, maybe it just doesn’t suit the car or my driving style. To be second it’s still pretty good.”

Fellow Red Bull driver Sergio Perez will start third, Lewis Hamilton improved to P4 with his final run while Lando Norris rolls off fifth for McLaren after denying George Russell on their flying laps and relegating him down to P6.

Fernando Alonso starts seventh right behind Norris – both Alpine and McLaren even on points coming into the French GP – while Yuki Tsunoda will start eighth.

Sainz sacrificed his Q3 to take P9 for Ferrari but, thanks to his engine penalties, will start at the back with Kevin Magnussen, who made it to Q3 but didn’t roll out in the final session. That will promote Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon into the final top 10 starting spots Sunday.

Pos No Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3 Laps
1 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:31.727 1:31.216 1:30.872 17
2 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing RBPT 1:31.891 1:31.990 1:31.176 14
3 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing RBPT 1:32.354 1:32.120 1:31.335 20
4 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:33.041 1:32.274 1:31.765 19
5 4 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes 1:32.672 1:32.777 1:32.032 14
6 63 George Russell Mercedes 1:33.109 1:32.633 1:32.131 20
7 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault 1:32.819 1:32.631 1:32.552 17
8 22 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri RBPT 1:33.394 1:32.836 1:32.780 20
9 55 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:32.297 1:31.081 DNF 10
10 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:32.756 1:32.649 9
11 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes 1:33.404 1:32.922 12
12 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault 1:33.346 1:33.048 12
13 77 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari 1:33.034 1:33.052 13
14 5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes 1:33.285 1:33.276 15
15 23 Alexander Albon Williams Mercedes 1:33.423 1:33.307 11
16 10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri RBPT 1:33.439 7
17 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes 1:33.439 9
18 24 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo Ferrari 1:33.674 8
19 47 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari 1:33.701 9
20 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes 1:33.794 6

Q1 107% time – 1:38.148

Note – Sainz and Magnussen required to start race from the back of the grid for use of additional power unit elements. Schumacher’s fastest Q1 time of 1:33.114 was deleted for a track limits infringement.