Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took a comfortable F1 French GP win ahead of Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

It was a clean start to F1 French GP at Paul Ricard with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc leading from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen comfortably. His teammate Sergio Perez lost out to Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, whose teammate George Russell lost to Alpine’s Fernando Alonso.

The Spaniard gained two places to be fifth from Russell, with McLaren’s Lando Norris dropping to seventh whereas teammate Daniel Ricciardo gained to be eighth right behind him. Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll rounded the Top 10.

All of the three drivers gained where Ocon had a tangle with AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda in the chicane which dropped the Japanese to the back of the field. Stroll had to take avoiding action which brought teammate Sebastian Vettel in the fight.

As expected, Ocon was handed a 5s time penalty as he passed Ricciardo to move up to eighth. Ahead of him, Alonso was passed by Russell for fifth as Verstappen started to pile on the pressure on Leclerc for the F1 French GP lead.

The Haas pair went for an early stop in a strategic move, as Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz – on the hard tyres – got himself up to the Top 10 in the early stages of the grand prix. Thing started to settle down and Verstappen eventually pitted on Lap 17 for the hard tyres.

But the grand prix turned upside down when Leclerc crashed out at Turn 11 when he lost control and dumped his car onto the tyre barrier. He was angry on the radio and noted about throttle pedal, but replays showed his tyres graining as well.

The safety car was deployed as Verstappen assumed the lead of F1 French GP from Hamilton who managed to keep himself ahead of Perez. Despite the double stack, Russell kept fourth with Alonso rounding the Top 5 position.

With everyone pitting, Ferrari had another spot of bother due to a slow stop for Sainz and an unsafe release situation which earned him a 5s time penalty. The Spaniard though made up three places on re-start to bring himself into the Top 5.

Alonso was sixth from Norris, Ricciardo, Ocon and Stroll in the Top 10. The safety car period saw the end of Tsunoda’s race due to damage from Lap 1 incident while a post safety car period saw a tangle between a Haas and Alfa Romeo driver.

Mick Schumacher tried a move around the outside at Turn 11 with Zhou Guanyu on the inside, but a small touch spun the German. The Chinese racer had to pit for a new front wing, with the move under investigation by the stewards.

As Verstappen led the way from Hamilton and Perez, the fight for fourth started to pump on with Russell defending hard from Sainz. The Spaniard took few laps to get through him but managed to get him eventually at Turn 11 in a good move around the outside.

Replays showed AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly having to take the run-off at chicane while trying a move on Haas’ Kevin Magnussen. There was another incident involving the Dane and Williams’ Nicholas Latifi later in the race, where the Canadian spun.

Both of them retired from the race due to damage. At the front, Verstappen was miles ahead of Hamilton but Perez, Sainz and Russell had a hard battle for third. The Spaniard pushed the Mexican hard to eventually pass him for third.

Perez then had Russell on his tail where the British driver tried a move on the chicane. The two touched with the Mexican taking avoiding action. Despite complaints from the Mercedes driver, the stewards took no further action on the matter.

Russell stayed on Perez’s tail and pounced on the Mexican post the Virtual Safety Car period for Zhou’s stranded car. Ahead of him, Verstappen took a comfortable win in F1 French GP from Mercedes pair of Hamilton and Russell.

The Brit eventually managed to fend off Perez’s late push as Sainz ended up fifth with the fastest lap. Alonso was sixth from Norris, Ocon, Ricciardo and Stroll in the Top 10 where the Canadian had to fend off a late charge from teammate Vettel.

Gasly was 12th from Williams’ Alexander Albon, Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas and Haas’ Schumacher. Even though Guanyu did not finish the race but he was classified in 16th. DNF: Latifi, Magnussen, Leclerc, Tsunoda.