Max Verstappen dominates qualifying for the French Formula 1 Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo 10th
Max Verstappen will be the favorite to win the French Grand Prix on Sunday after dominating Saturday’s qualifying session to secure pole position.
- Max Verstappen will start Sunday in the French Grand Prix on pole
- The championship leader will be joined in the first row by Lewis Hamilton
- Australian Daniel Ricciardo qualified in the top 10 for the first time in three races
The championship leader was untouchable on the Circuit Paul Riccard, being the only driver to post a time of less than one minute and 30 seconds.
Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton was closest to Verstappen, but was still two and a half tenths behind the Dutchman.
The Paul Riccard circuit has been a happy hunting ground for the Mercedes team since its return to the Formula 1 calendar in 2018.
Before this weekend, Mercedes had dominated the timesheets at the end of each session around the track in the south of France.
But Verstappen and Red Bull took that advantage with a stunning performance on Saturday.
“I knew it would be better than the last time we were here, but I didn’t expect it at this point,” said Verstappen.
“It hasn’t traditionally been an amazing track for us, but being able to put it on pole here, of course, we’re very happy about that.”
Despite qualifying second and third, Mercedes boss Toto Wolf said his side struggled to keep pace against fast Red Bull.
Hamilton will start second and Valtteri Bottas will line up third on the grid, with Sergio Perez in second Red Bull behind them in fourth.
Wolf told Sky F1 that Mercedes needed a major improvement on Sunday to claim the win.
“It’s been a tough weekend because we’re just lacking the pace,” he said.
“It looked a lot worse than at the end where we ended up, but we just need to win everywhere.”
Australian Daniel Ricciardo reached the final qualifying phase for the first time in three races, starting Sunday’s Grand Prix in tenth position.
Ricciardo will start the race with the medium compound, which will allow him to be on the fastest tire at the end of the race.
“Overall I’m pretty happy with the performance. Everyone is fast right now and the times are so tight, so we’ll be working to keep finding the pace,” he said.
“We’re always looking for those extra few tenths on a single lap, so we’ll try to shake things up. [Sunday]. “