Verstappen not fazed by early Leclerc pace

After some battling in the early laps of the 2022 French GP, Verstappen took an early stop due to tyre temperatures


Despite finding it impossible to get past Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari in the early stages of the 2022 French GP, Max Verstappen admitted he was somewhat comfortable with how the race was panning out.

Leclerc though, lost the rear end and spun into the tyre barrier just as Verstappen had come out of the pits, handing the Red Bull driver a comfortable win at the Circuit Paul Ricard. 

“I thought he would be faster,” Verstappen told the press. 

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen crosses the line to win the 2022 French Grand Prix REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/Pool

“I thought it would be very hard to follow. But immediately, I could see that our balance was not bad.

“I stayed in his DRS for quite a while, but around here even driving on your own the tyres are already getting really hot. So I think by doing that, towards the pit stop, my tyres were a bit too hot. 

“That’s why I think he pulled away a little bit. But it wasn’t anything, like, drastic, the way he was pulling away. 

“I still had good hope that we would have had a good fight on the other compound as well.”

Testing his Red Bull

After being out paced in Austria, Verstappen admitted he was looking to see if his Red Bull had the capability to follow closely in France, which he believes it did.  

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during the 2022 French Grand Prix REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

“I was very happy because I wanted to see immediately if we could follow or not compared to Austria where it was the other way around,” Verstappen went on, “where you know, I was in the lead, but I could barely hold on. 

“But this time I think we were a lot more competitive. Of course, our straightline speed was very beneficial, but because of that, of course, in the high-speed we had to be a bit more careful.

“I think we had really good pace from the start. I was putting pressure on Charles. But following around here with this heat, you know, the tyres are overheating a lot. 

“So I could never really like go for a move, only once, into Turn 11. But yeah, we just tried to stay calm, tried to stay close. Of course we pitted a bit earlier. 

“From there onwards, you never know how the race is going to go. But the car was quick today.”

John Smith
Editor at and all round Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1, IndyCar and Formula E.
- Advertisment -


How a change of approach helped Jake Hughes take maiden podium at the Shanghai...

After 27 races, McLaren driver Jake Hughes took his first podium in Formula E, clinching second place at the...

Red Bull bosses agree on Liam Lawson F1 prospects in 2025

Christian Horner and RB CEO Peter Bayer refused to back Liam Lawson's prospects for a full-time Formula 1 drive...

After Carlos Sainz’s Mercedes denial, why does his future remain an enigma?

Ferrari swinging the axe on Carlos Sainz's career in scarlet must have stung, but the Spaniard at least had...

Where does Charles Leclerc rank 2024 Monaco Grand Prix win?

Charles Leclerc is a race winner for the first time in almost two years as the Ferrari ace crushed...

What we learned from the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix

The 2024 Monaco Grand Prix may not have served up a classic, but it wasn’t short on storylines as...

Look away Checo – Horner praises Perez’s F1 rival as star fights for Red...

Christian Horner insists Red Bull will make a decision about Sergio Perez's Red Bull future "in the fullness of...

F1 Winners and Losers of 2024 Monaco GP

Charles Leclerc vanquished his Monte Carlo demons to finally take victory at his home race, while Red Bull continued...

F1 Driver Ratings – Monaco GP 2024

Charles Leclerc was in dreamland as the Ferrari driver finally celebrated an elusive victory at home race at the...

2024 Indy 500 Race Results

Josef Newgarden joined an elite group of drivers by winning the Indy 500 for the second consecutive year in...

Newgarden takes sensational Indy 500 win after epic battle for glory

The Indianapolis 500 never fails to excite and even a four-hour rain delay couldn't dampen the drama for IndyCar's...
- Advertisment -
Exit mobile version