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French GP qualifying as it happened

Follow all the action from the French Grand Prix as it happens with our minute-by-minute coverage.

French GP qualifying as it happened

By: James Newbold, Haydn Cobb



  • Verstappen takes pole at French GP, leading from Hamilton and Bottas
  • Schumacher (no time), Russell, Giovinazzi, Vettel and Ocon out in Q2
  • Tsunoda, Stroll, Mazepin, Raikkonen and Latifi out in Q1
  • Q1 was stopped after Schumacher hit barrier
  • Verstappen topped FP3 by significant 0.747s from Bottas at Circuit Paul Ricard

1. Verstappen, Red Bull
2. Hamilton, Mercedes
3. Bottas, Mercedes
4. Perez, Red Bull
5. Sainz, Ferrari
6. Gasly, AlphaTauri
7. Leclerc, Ferrari
8. Norris, McLaren
9. Alonso, Alpine
10. Ricciardo, McLaren

Status: Stopped
Right, time to digest qualifying and investigate the reaction to that session ahead of the French GP. We'll be back tomorrow for the pre-race build-up, with lights out at 2pm BST (3pm local time). Until then, have a lovely afternoon!
That is also Red Bull's first F1 pole position at the French GP and sets up an intriguing grid with the two Mercedes directly behind polesitter Verstappen and Perez in fourth place. Bring on Sunday!

Here's the full report on an enthralling French GP qualifying:

Verstappen on his French GP pole: "So far it has been a really positive weekend at a track where it has been a bit difficult for us. So to get pole position is really nice. No points are scored today but it is a great day and we have to finish it off tomorrow to get 25 points that we lost in Baku."

That is Verstappen's fifth F1 pole position of his career and first since the 2021 opener in Bahrain.


Sainz takes the 'best of the rest' honours in fifth place for Ferrari beating AlphaTauri's Gasly and the other Ferrari of Leclerc. Norris takes P8 with Alonso P9 and Ricciardo P10.

Bottas had momentarily jumped up to second place before he was displaced by Hamilton, with Perez also shuffled back late on to qualify in fourth place.

It is - Hamilton manages a 1m30.248s but it is only good enough for second place - so Verstappen takes pole position for the French GP!

Verstappen puts in a 1m29.990s to extend his advantage at the top, but is it enough?

Final lap time and Gasly jumps up to P4 for now, ahead of Leclerc and Bottas. The rest are charging around now so here we go!

"How was the out-lap compared to Max?" Hamilton asks over his team radio. "Pace is similar," is the response.


Three minutes of Q3 to go and it is almost time for the final runs. Advantage Verstappen by a useful margin but can he maintain it?

TV replays show Gasly going off the track at Turn 6 - by a few centimetres - but rules are rules so he loses that lap.

Perez slots into third place, a couple of tenths behind Hamilton, with Botas in fourth - 0.8s off Verstappen's provisional pole time.

Verstappen is on provisional pole with a 1m30.325s, with Hamilton taking second place with a 1m30.711s. That's a big margin to find - 0.386s to be precise.

Gasly loses his first timed effort for track limits at Turn 6, while Verstappen has been reported to have been off at Turn 2, but so far hasn't lost his lap.

The Mercedes and Red Bull drivers stay in the garage for the opening minute of Q3, letting the rest battle for position at the start, before joining the action. Verstappen is at the front of that train from Perez, Bottas and then Hamilton.

Here we go for Q3!