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Flying Verstappen fastest in final French GP practice

23 July 2022 - 14:37 By Reuters
Max Verstappen on track during final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of France at Circuit Paul Ricard on July 23, 2022 in Le Castellet, France.
Max Verstappen on track during final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of France at Circuit Paul Ricard on July 23, 2022 in Le Castellet, France.
Image: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Formula One world championship leader Max Verstappen found some extra pace to go fastest for Red Bull in final practice for the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet on Saturday.

The Dutch 24-year-old lapped the Circuit Paul Ricard in 1:32.272 seconds on the soft tyres, with Ferrari's Carlos Sainz 0.354 slower after setting a scorching pace on Friday.

Sainz represents no threat to Verstappen, however, since the Spaniard has to start from the back of the grid due to engine penalties after his fiery retirement in Austria two weeks ago.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, Verstappen's closest title rival, was third fastest on the time sheets but a hefty 0.637 slower than the Red Bull driver who will be favourite for pole position in later qualifying.

The Monegasque, who suffered a big spin, complained that his car's soft tyres were “dead on the second lap. I don't know why”.

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton was fourth fastest for Mercedes with Verstappen's team mate Sergio Perez fifth, but more than a second off the pace, and George Russell sixth for Mercedes.

Double world champion Fernando Alonso was seventh for Renault-owned Alpine with Alex Albon eighth in his upgraded Williams.


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