The Red Bull driver won the fifth F1 pole position of his career, and the first since the opening of the 2021 season in Bahrain, with a superb lap late on the Paul Ricard circuit to avoid the Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas .
Hamilton will line up alongside Verstappen – who admitted he didn’t expect to perform as well against Mercedes at a circuit where he’s been undefeated since returning to the calendar in 2018 – in first place, beating Bottas for the first time in the whole weekend to dispel a “myth” that his difficulties at the French GP were caused by the exchange of chassis with the Finn.
Azerbaijani Grand Prix winner Sergio Perez clinched fourth place for Red Bull after initially struggling for pace in practice, with Carlos Sainz Jr taking the “best of the rest” to fifth for Ferrari.
Home favorite Pierre Gasly will start from sixth place for AlphaTauri after his first timed effort in Q3 of qualifying was canceled for going over the track limits at Turn 6.
Gasly split the Ferrari pair with Monaco and Baku poleman Charles Leclerc, who suffered what he called “a disaster” in seventh place, ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso.
Daniel Riccardo completed the top 10 in sister McLaren.
Esteban Ocon narrowly missed the shootout from pole position in 11e place for Alpine, but remains ahead of Sebastian Vettel of Aston Martin and Antonio Giovinazzi of Alfa Romeo.
George Russell produced his usual strong qualifying performance to take 14e room for Williams, while Mick Schumacher reached Q2 for the first time but was unable to make the session after crashing his Haas late in Q1.
The first qualifying period was interrupted twice for two red flags, the first when AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda crashed at Turn 1, followed by the late stop due to Schumacher’s stoppage at Turn 6.
Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02, is assisted by marshals after crashing in Q1
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
When will the F1 French Grand Prix?
- Date: Sunday 20e June 2021
- Start time: 2:00 p.m. BST, 3:00 p.m. local time
The seventh round of the 2021 F1 season, the French GP at the Circuit Paul Ricard du Castellet, will start at 3:00 p.m. local time (2:00 p.m. BST) on Sunday, 20e June.
How to watch the French GP?
In the UK, Sky Sports owns the exclusive live streaming rights to F1, with the French GP race being broadcast live on Sky Sports F1. Pre-race coverage will begin at 12:30 p.m. BST before the start of the race at 2:00 p.m. BST.
After the race, Sky Sports F1 live coverage continues to follow the post-race reaction from the time the checkered flag is waved until 5.30pm BST.
Autosport is broadcasting live text commentary for the French GP.
When can I watch the highlights?
In the UK, Channel 4 broadcasts highlights from the French GP at 6.30 p.m. BST on Sunday. The full program will last two and a half hours, covering the pre-race, race highlights and initial post-race reaction to wrap up the main talking points of the race weekend.
Throughout the 2021 F1 season, Channel 4 will broadcast highlights from each qualifying and race on the Saturday and Sunday of each event. Highlights will also be available on Channel 4’s on-demand catch-up services.
- Channel: Channel 4
- Start time: 6.30 p.m. BST
Will it be on the radio?
Live radio coverage of every training, qualifying and race for the 2021 F1 season will be available on BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra stations.
Coverage of the French GP will begin at 1:45 p.m. BST on BBC Radio 5 Live, available online, on DAB radio and the BBC Sounds app.
Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M
Photo By: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
French GP weather forecast
The current weather forecast calls for cloudy but dry conditions, with a small possibility of rain before the race and strong winds throughout the race day. The temperature is expected to be 28 degrees Celsius for the start of the race, about five degrees warmer than the Azerbaijani GP.
How many laps does the French GP have?
The race is expected to cover 53 laps of the Circuit Paul Ricard, covering a total distance of 309.69 km.
Will there be fans at the French GP?
Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the French GP will be limited to a maximum capacity of 15,000 fans on each day of track action throughout the race weekend.