French Grand Prix: Max Verstappen seals pole as Lewis Hamilton sets up duel with second in qualifying

max verstappen

Max Verstappen sealed pole in qualifying for the French Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton tantalisingly alongside him on the front row for tomorrow's race.

The two title rivals are looking to bounce back after neither scored in Baku last time out and are set to renew their rivalry at Circuit Paul Ricard, with team-mates Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez to line-up in third and fourth respectively.

The French Grand Prix represents round 7 of the Formula 1 World Championship with Max and Lewis separated by just four points in the Drivers' standings as their title fight continues to rumble on.

Here's how qualifying played out...

Q1

Tsunoda

A pair of red flags, one at the beginning of the session and one at the end, added a real dose of drama in the first round of qualifying, as drivers had to try and record their lap-times in between.

Yuki Tsunoda slid backwards into the barrier at the first complex of corners to bring out the first red, whilst it was Mick Schumacher's shunt at the end of Q1 that really threw a spanner in the works.

Indeed, whilst the German made it into Q2 for the first time - though he'd not take part in it thanks to damage - his incident meant that Nicolas Latifi, Kimi Raikkonen, Nikita Mazepin, Lance Stroll and, of course, Tsunoda were all eliminated.

Q2

vettel

As mentioned, Mick Schumacher took no part in Q2 with the session proving far more straight-forward for those that were involved compared to Q1.

Joining the Haas driver in being eliminated were Esteban Ocon at his home Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel, who may well have felt as though he'd come back to Earth after his Baku podium; Antonio Giovinazzi and George Russell.

Q3 

max verstappen

It was, then, Max Verstappen who took pole with a stunning 1:29.990 - meaning he was the only man to dip under the 1:30 mark.

Hamilton, meanwhile, will start alongside his title rival on the front row with him two and a half tenths back, teeing up potentially another classic duel between 2021's main protagonists.

The Constructors' championship, meanwhile, continues to intensify too and that's reflected by the remainder of the top four, with Valtteri Bottas in third and Sergio Perez in fourth.

Elsewhere, Carlos Sainz recorded an impressive fifth for Ferrari ahead of Pierre Gasly, Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris, Fernando Alonso and Daniel Ricciardo.

Provisional grid for Sunday's French Grand Prix

1 Verstappen

2 Hamilton

3 Bottas

4 Perez

5 Sainz

6 Gasly

7 Leclerc

8 Norris 

9 Alonso 

10 Ricciardo

11 Ocon

12 Vettel

13 Giovinazzi

14 Russell

15 Schumacher

16 Latifi

17 Raikkonen

18 Mazepin

19 Stroll

20 Tsunoda

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