F1 qualifying LIVE: French Grand Prix latest updates

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It’s the French Grand Prix this weekend and you can follow live F1 coverage as we move towards qualifying. On Friday it seemed the Ferraris had the edge, with Charles Leclerc reigniting his world championship hopes last time out by racing to victory at the Austrian Grand Prix and Carlos Sainz – a winner at Silverstone – faster than championship leader Max Verstappen after FP2. But the Belgian-Dutch driver – 0.550 seconds off Sainz’s pace-setting time on Friday – went fastest in third practice on Saturday.

Leclerc said on Friday: “Max seems particularly quick on the high fuel. So I don’t know how much fuel they were running. That is a bit of a question mark. It was a good Friday. We still have to work on the car a little bit. It is very difficult to understand because it feels like Red Bull is doing something different to us on Fridays.

“But focusing on ourselves, the feeling is good. We just need to put everything together and the pace is in the car. If we do the perfect weekend, we will be fighting for the win.”

Lewis Hamilton did not drive in the first practice session on Friday, with Nyck de Vries taking his place. But both Hamilton and teammate George Russell were fifth and fourth fastest respectively in FP2, while Hamilton was fourth in FP3 on Saturday and Russell in sixth, one place behind Sergio Perez.

Qualifying starts at 3pm. Follow all the live updates, times and standings throughout the day.

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How can I watch qualifying on TV?

The entire race schedule will be broadcast live on Sky Sports F1 with qualifying and the race live on Sky Sports Main Event too.

Highlights will be aired of qualifying and the race on Saturday and Sunday respectively on Channel 4 at 6:30pm (BST).

If you’re not a Sky customer you can grab a NOWTV Day Pass here to watch without a subscription.

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Lando Norris hails ‘role model’ Lewis Hamilton ahead of his 300th F1 race

Lando Norris has revealed Lewis Hamilton is the role model he wants to base his Formula One career on. Hamilton, 37, will become only the sixth driver in the sport’s history to compete in 300 races at Sunday’s French Grand Prix.

Norris’ hero growing up was MotoGP great Valentino Rossi, but the 22-year-old’s relationship with Hamilton has matured during his three and a half seasons in F1. “It is an incredible achievement to have been in the sport for so long, and to have achieved the amount he has,” said Norris ahead of Hamilton’s landmark race.

“You always hear the stories of Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna, and this period it has been Lewis. It can be taken for granted because I am doing my own thing but in 30, 40 or 50 years’ time that is when I realise I was lucky to have raced in that time.

“He is a role model. He has shown you can be a seven-time world champion and at the same time go and do other things in his life. Anyone of us can stop Formula One when we want. It is not like we have to do it. So you have to respect that he has done it for all these years, while also doing other things outside of the sport.”

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Carlos Sainz and Kevin Magnussen will both start from the back of the grid on Sunday due to engine penalties

For Carlos Sainz, whose Ferrari engine blew two weeks ago in Austria, a new internal combustion engine, turbocharger, MGU-H and MGU-K has been added to his CE change, resulting in a penalty.

“I think by the time that we are changing components, we change many of them, make sure that he has fresh components on the car and it’s very likely he’ll be at the back of the grid,” Mattia Binotto had told Sky Sports F1 earlier on Saturday.

“It’s always difficult to overtake, but he’s got the pace. It can be a good race for him. I think he’s focusing on trying to have a good weekend and trying to minimise the disadvantage of the penalties.”

Whoever places higher out of Sainz and Magnussen in qualifying will start the race from 19th, while the other will line up 20th and last.

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World champion Max Verstappen clocked the fastest time in final practice for the French Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver, who heads the title standings, finished three tenths clear of Carlos Sainz, with his Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc third. Sainz will start Sunday’s race from the back of the field, penalised for taking on a number of unallocated engine parts.

Lewis Hamilton finished fourth, one second adrift of Verstappen. The seven-time world champion trialled a new rear wing in the final running before qualifying. But the Mercedes man, who will on Sunday become just the sixth driver in Formula One history to compete in his 300th race, does not appear to be in contention for pole position.

George Russell finished sixth, one place behind Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and two tenths down on Hamilton in the other Mercedes. Verstappen, 38 points clear of Leclerc, looks the driver to beat after lapping the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet 0.354 seconds clear of Sainz.

Leclerc complained about the durability of his tyres, and also spun at Turn 12 after losing control of his Ferrari. Elsewhere, Fernando Alonso finished seventh for Alpine, with Alex Albon an encouraging eighth for Williams. McLaren have brought more upgrades to this track than at any other stage of the season and Lando Norris took ninth with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo 11th.

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Last-chance saloon beckons for Mercedes as F1 says farewell to Circuit Paul Ricard

As odd as it may seem to jump the gun during grand prix No 12 of a 22-race season, this weekend’s French Grand Prix in the picturesque southern region of Le Castellet is something of a last-chance saloon for one team and, more pertinently, one venue.

First, to Circuit Paul Ricard, which only returned to Formula 1 in 2018 after a 28-year absence. It is near-certain that this will be the last time it hosts a race in motorsport’s greatest championship, with the French Grand Prix’s contract expiring this year and no extension forthcoming. With Las Vegas and potentially Shanghai and South Africa returning to the calendar next year, France is bound to come a cropper to F1’s exponential global boom particularly with Monaco remaining, for the time being, a campaign staple 109 miles down the coastline.

Yet more pertinently this race has long been earmarked – alongside Silverstone three weeks ago – as a key weekend for Mercedes, with the Constructors’ Champions still seeking top-notch performance as they pursue a first win of 2022. If there is even an inkling of the Silver Arrows reviving their season before serious attention turns to next year, it has to come this weekend at a flat, high-speed track. However Friday, following two practice stints, will have set no pulses excitedly racing in the garage, with George Russell finishing P4 in both hour-long sessions.

Lewis Hamilton – who did not run in FP1 as he made way for test driver Nyck de Vries as part of F1’s young driver protocol for 2022 – was fifth on the timesheet later in the afternoon, at a circuit he’s won twice at in 2018 and 2019 and where he will become just the sixth man to reach 300 grands prix in Formula 1. Unbeknownst to him, mind – he insisted he was unaware before being told in Thursday’s press conference.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, speaking after an “underwhelming” first practice and having complained of being in “no man’s land” throughout the season so far, was decidedly unimpressed with their running. “We’re not where we want to be,” he said.

“We’re lacking pace. We’re still not getting the tyres in the optimum window. It’s something we haven’t quite understood.”

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Max Verstappen fastest in final practice for French Grand Prix

World champion Max Verstappen clocked the fastest time in final practice for the French Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver, who heads the title standings, finished three tenths clear of Carlos Sainz, with his Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc third.

Sainz will start Sunday’s race from the back of the field, penalised for taking on a number of unallocated engine parts.

Lewis Hamilton finished fourth, one second adrift of Verstappen. The seven-time world champion trialled a new rear wing in the final running before qualifying.

But the Mercedes man, who will on Sunday become just the sixth driver in Formula One history to compete in his 300th race, does not appear to be in contention for pole position.

George Russell finished sixth, one place behind Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and two tenths down on Hamilton in the other Mercedes.

Verstappen, 38 points clear of Leclerc, looks the driver to beat after lapping the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet 0.354 seconds clear of Sainz.

Leclerc complained about the durability of his tyres, and also spun at Turn 12 after losing control of his Ferrari.

Elsewhere, Fernando Alonso finished seventh for Alpine, with Alex Albon an encouraging eighth for Williams.

McLaren have brought more upgrades to this track than at any other stage of the season and Lando Norris took ninth with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo 11th.

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel finished 20th and last for his struggling Aston Martin team.

Qualifying starts at 4pm local time (3pm UK).

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Michael Schumacher’s family accused of telling ‘lies’ about F1 legend’s health

Michael Schumacher’s family have been accused of telling “lies” about the F1 legend’s health, by the German’s former manager Willi Weber.

The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has not been seen publicly since suffering a near-fatal brain injury while skiing in December 2013 in Meribel, France.

His wife Corinna has insisted on protecting Schumacher’s privacy in the eight-and-a-half years since, with his medical condition shrouded in secrecy as he continues to recover at home in Switzerland.

Yet Weber, speaking to Italian outlet La Gazzetta dello Sport this week, claims he has not been allowed to see the 53-year-old and has been “kept out” the loop by Corinna.

“I tried hundreds of times to contact Corinna and she didn’t answer,” Weber, 80, said.

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Sebastian Vettel pilots 100-year-old Aston Martin ahead of French GP

Ahead of the French Grand Prix weekend, F1 driver Sebastian Vettel got behind the wheel of a 1922 Bamford & Martin TT1 car.

Fresh from piloting a 30-year-old ex-Nigel Mansell Williams FW14B around Silverstone ahead of the British GP, the German star has now got his hands on a 100-year-old car – affectionately known as ‘Green Pea’.

Sebastian Vettel pilots 100-year-old Aston Martin ahead of French GP

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Current driver standings

Max Verstappen remains on top of the drivers’ standings, though his lead has diminished slightly after Charles Leclerc’s victory in Austria. How Ferrari would love to close the gap again tomorrow.

1. Max Verstappen – 208 points

2. Charles Leclerc – 170 points

3. Sergio Perez – 151 points

4. Carlos Sainz – 133 points

5. George Russell – 128 points

6. Lewis Hamilton – 109 points

7. Lando Norris – 64 points

8. Esteban Ocon – 52 points

9. Valtteri Bottas – 46 points

10. Fernando Alonso – 29 points

11. Kevin Magnussen – 22 points

12. Daniel Ricciardo -17 points

13. Pierre Gasly – 16 points

14. Sebastian Vettel -15 points

15. Mick Schumacher – 12 points

16. Yuki Tsunoda – 11 points

17. Guanyu Zhou – 5 points

18. Alex Albon – 3 points

19. Lance Stroll – 3 points

20. Nicholas Latifi – 0 points

21. Nico Hulkenberg – 0 points

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What is the race schedule?

  • Free Practice 3: Midday
  • Qualifying: 3pm

How can I watch it online and on TV?

The entire race schedule will be broadcast live on Sky Sports F1 with qualifying and the race live on Sky Sports Main Event too. Highlights will be aired of qualifying and the race on Saturday and Sunday respectively on Channel 4 at 6:30pm (BST).