Updated: Nov 22, 2022
Track limits came back to haunt some drivers in qualifying as both Ricciardo and Schumacher had lap times deleted in Q1 due to exceeding them. This particularly stung Schumacher as he was knocked out, along with Stroll, Gasly, Zhou and Latifi. Q2 passed without much incident, some drama as all the cars battling to get into Q3 crossed the line at similar times, ultimately Ricciardo, Ocon, Bottas, Vettel and Albon were all knocked out. Ferrari started the session dominant, completing the two fastest lap times.
Due to Sainz starting from the back of the grid because of an engine replacement Ferrari used the Spaniard to help tow Leclerc which caused the Monegasque to claim yet another pole position for the season. Despite his best efforts, Verstappen was not able to beat the Ferrari’s time, to make it the 6th time this season that Leclerc and Verstappen line up 1,2. Perez will be joined by Hamilton on the 2nd row, starting 3,4 while Norris and Russell make up the 3rd.
It was a scorching day in the South of France and as the lights went out Leclerc managed to stay ahead of the Red Bulls. Hamilton also had a good start, pipping Perez in the first few turns and making his way to P3. Within 6 laps Leclerc and Verstappen had widened the gap between them and the rest of the grid, by lap 17 strategy was coming into play, with Red Bull deciding to pit Verstappen before Ferrari pit Leclerc. This was then deemed unnecessary as Leclerc spun into the wall in lap 18, forcing him to retire from the race and leaving Hamilton to take P1.
Many teams took the opportunity to pit during the safety car that followed Leclerc’s crash, including Ferrari with his teammate Sainz, who was handed a 5 second time penalty for an unsafe release as the Spaniard nearly crashed into a Williams in the pit lane. Sainz was using the pace of Ferrari to overtake Alonso, Russell and Perez. During his overtake against Perez Ferrari told Sainz to “box, box” which naturally caused an angry reaction from Sainz who was in the middle of the manoeuvre, he went into the pits a lap later to serve his 5 second time penalty and change tyres, which was a strange call from Ferrari.
Russell and Perez started battling towards the end of the race, the two made contact on lap 42, forcing Perez off the track and causing Russell to claim it was Perez that slammed into him. With Zhou stopping at the side of the track a safety car was deployed, lap 50 saw it ending and Russell managed to catch Perez sleeping at the restart. The Mercedes managed to stay ahead of the Red Bull for the last 3 laps. Verstappen took the win as Hamilton and Russell made up the podium for the first double podium of their season.