VERSTAPPEN WINS IN FRANCE AFTER LECLERC CRASHES OUT
In the 18th race at Le Castellet it was Max Verstappen who came home in first to extend his lead in the championship over rival Charles Leclerc who failed to finish after a crash on lap 18. Meanwhile it was a double podium for Mercedes with Hamilton in second and Russell in third for the Silver Arrows first double podium of 2022.
As the lights went out it was Leclerc (Ferrari) who got away well with Max Verstappen (Red Bull) stays in second with Hamilton (Mercedes) into third. Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri) spins after contact with one of tow home heroes Esteban Ocon (Alpine) and the Japanese driver drops down into last place. Sainz (Ferrari) has struggled to gain places on the first lap and is still down in 18th.
After closely following Leclerc for 16 laps Verstappen pits for a fresh set of tyres and drops down behind Norris (McLaren) and is now in seventh place. Hamilton takes second with Perez in third.
Then on lap 18 Leclerc is out after losing the rear as they spin up through the high speed corner of turn seven and into the barrier goes the Ferrari and yet again Leclerc is out after leading a race (just like Spain and Baku) and out comes the Safety Car as the top three of Hamilton, Perez and Russell all pit. Verstappen now leads this race from Hamilton to Perez in third. The majority of drivers have pitted by the end of lap 19.
On lap 20 Tsunoda is retired after his contact on the first lap.
And the very next lap (21/53) racing resumes as the Safety Car comes in as Verstappen leads them away with Hamilton in second with Perez in third.
On lap 39 Magnussen (Haas) retires from the race.
The next real bit of action didn't happen until lap 42 when Sainz passed Perez for third place. A move which started halfway through the lap and ended on the start finish straight. Meanwhile Russell makes a move on Perez but there is slight contact between the two and Perez has to go wide, the Red Bull stays ahead.
After much debating with his team Sainz pits from third and comes back out in ninth behind Ocon. The stop is slow as he serves a five second penalty from earlier on in the race.
With not long left on lap 49/43 Zhou in the Alfa Romeo stops on the side of the track. The VSC is deployed.
Then on lap 51 the green flag is out and the cars are back to full speed. As Russell catches out Perez and it is a gift of a podium position for Russell. Perez just unaware that Russell would make a move and unfortunately for Perez is unable to get the place back.
The next race is the Hungarian Grand Prix.
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