Verstappen solid poleman at Circuit Paul Ricard

The Red Bull driver signs his 2nd pole position of the season at Le Castellet (Var), 0”258 ahead of his great rival Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes).

Published on 19/06/2021 à 16:23


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Verstappen solid poleman at Circuit Paul Ricard

The Red Bull driver has been very energetic since the start of the Var weekend / © DPPI

Max Verstappen et Red Bull confirm their good dispositions at Le Castellet (Var) by seizing pole position for the French Grand Prix. On a Paul Ricard Circuit where the Dutchman had never qualified in the Top 3 since the return of the French round to the calendar in 2018, the leader of the world championship clocked a time of 1'29"990 to pocket a 5th pole in career. 

The previous one dates back, strangely perhaps, to the Bahrain Grand Prix at the opening of the season. On the front row, Verstappen will find his direct competitor for the title Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), author of a very solid final lap to be 0”258 behind the benchmark established by his rival Red Bull. 

After his setbacks in Baku (Azerbaijan), Valtteri Bottas regains color and bounces back to 3rd place, 0 behind Verstappen. The Finn will be accompanied on the 386nd row by Sergio Pérez aboard the 2nd Red Bull RB2B. 

Behind, we will note the good performances of Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) and Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri), who will share the 3rd row of the grid on Sunday. The Frenchman only had one attempt to get the ball rolling after his first time in Q3 was erased for failure to respect the track limits at turn 6. 

follow Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) and Lando Norris (McLaren), while Fernando Alonso is the only representative Alpine in Q3. The double world champion finished in 9th place, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren).

Esteban Ocon would have liked to celebrate his new 3-year contract with Alpine by a good performance in qualifying but the Frenchman had to be content with 11th fastest time, and the choice of tires on the grid that accompanies it, even if most of the drivers who entered Q3 accessed it in Mediums. 

Author of an honest performance in Q1, Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) returns to Earth in Q2 of which he will not exceed the horizon, just like Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), and George Russell (Williams). 

Qualified in Q2 for the first time in his young career, Mick Schumacher (Haas) was unfortunately unable to take part after being the victim of an exit from the track and contact with the safety barriers at the end of Q1. 

The opening segment of qualifying was indeed punctuated by a pair of red flags, the first having been caused by a spin of Yuki tsunoda. The Japanese from AlphaTauri was unable to go any further and will start the race last Sunday. 

In the final moments of this Q1, Schumacher, who had lifted his modest Haas into 14th position, ended up in the wall and led to a new interruption, which trapped the Aston Martin from Lance stroll

The Canadian's first flying lap having been erased for failure to respect the limits of the route, a recurring theme of the weekend in France, the Montrealer had to set a representative time, which was prevented by the red flag caused by Schumacher.

Stroll will therefore share the last row with Tsunoda. They were accompanied in the 1st cart of the eliminated by Nicholas latifi, who came within 0’002 of entering Q2 and beating his Williams teammate Russell for the first time in qualifying. It was also the end of the adventure for Kimi Räikkönen (Alfa Romeo) definitely no longer in the game on Saturday afternoon, and Nikita mazepin (Haas).

With the two grid captains on the front line, their faithful lieutenants just behind, Sainz, Gasly, and Leclerc in ambush, this bodes well for a great spectacle in the Var on Sunday afternoon. 


AUTOhebdo deputy editor-in-chief. The feather dipped in gall.

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