Max Verstappen clinched his second Formula 1 pole position of the season, beating Lewis Hamilton to the top spot in qualifying for the French Grand Prix.
Until today, Hamilton had claimed pole and the win in every French Grand Prix since the Paul Ricard circuit returned to the calendar in 2018.
However, Verstappen defied the odds of tradition and put in a sublime Q3 effort to snare pole for tomorrow’s Grand Prix.
After the initial Q3 runs, Verstappen was comfortably the quickest driver.
Yet the track continued to get faster, and each of the pole contenders unlocked speed in their final run.
Hamilton went purple through sector one before Verstappen pulled out the fastest time through sector two.
As the Red Bull crossed the line, he bettered his final sector time and secured himself pole position.
Hamilton cemented a spot on the front row, with Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez making up places third and fourth.
Carlos Sainz was the best of the Ferraris in fifth and is joined on the third row by hometown hero Pierre Gasly.
Charles Leclerc was seventh, while McLaren duo Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo struggled for speed and could only muster eighth and tenth.
They were split by Fernando Alonso in the lone Q3 running Alpine.
The sister Alpine of Esteban Ocon looked strong through free practice but failed to translate that performance into qualifying. He will start 11th.
Mick Schumacher made it out of Q1 for the first time in his F1 career and for the ailing Haas team.
Unfortunately, despite ending Q1 in 15th and safe, Schumacher crashed late in the session and brought a premature end to his day.
The consequent red flag meant Lance Stroll couldn’t complete a lap in Q1 after his first time was deleted for track limits. He will begin 19th.
Yuki Tsunoda’s qualifying lasted all but two corners when he spun into the barriers on his first flying lap of the day.
The Japanese rookie will thus start tomorrow’s race from the last spot on the grid.
Rain is forecasted for tomorrow, which should lead to an intriguing race should it fall.
Meanwhile, after both failed to score points in Azerbaijan, having championship front runners Verstappen and Hamilton on the front row hopefully result in some interesting strategic battles.
The French Grand Prix is scheduled to start at 1 am NZT, June 21.
|5||Carlos Sainz Jr||0.850|