Verstappen cruises to French GP win after another Leclerc retirement

Another unforced error from Ferrari gifted the win to the Red Bull man

By The Newsroom
Monday, 25th July 2022, 9:34 am

Max Verstappen was able to cruise to one of the easiest wins of his career on Sunday at the French Grand Prix after leader Charles Leclerc crashed out.

The Dutchman was running second behind the Ferrari man when, on lap 16, Leclerc spun off into the barriers and out of the race. It is the third time this season Leclerc has retired while leading, gifting wins to Verstappen in Spain and Azerbaijan previously too.

It means the Red Bull Racing man already leads the title race by a mighty 66 points - more than two race wins - with 10 races remaining.

Speaking afterwards, Verstappen said: “We had really good pace from the start, although following around here, the tyres overheated a lot so I couldn’t really go for a move but I stayed calm and stayed close.

“It was really unlucky for Charles and I’m glad he’s okay, it could have been a really fun race because both cars were so quick!

“From there I just concentrated on my own race and looked after the tyres. The pit lane is so long here so that prevented us from having another pit stop.

“Today was a great day but there are plenty more races ahead of us and I just always aim for the most points possible, the fight is nowhere near over.”

It was a tough weekend for Sergio Perez though. Having struggled to be on Verstappen’s pace all weekend, he fell to fourth at the start behind Lewis Hamilton, and was overtaken by both Carlos Sainz Jnr, who quickly pitted after, and George Russell in the other Mercedes to lose out on a podium spot at the death when the Mexican was caught napping at the end of a Virtual Safety Car period.

“It was a difficult one out there today, I was off the pace and unfortunately wasn’t able to get the podium we wanted,” he said. “I struggled with tyre management and it was tough to get on top of it. I had a close battle with George but it was a good one, I wish we could have pushed for a 1-2 but Mercedes were very strong and it was difficult to overtake them.

“There are some bits for us to analyse and hopefully I will recover my pace and come back stronger for Hungary.”