F1: Leclerc blames himself for loss to Verstappen in France
Max Verstappen returned to winning ways by winning the French Grand Prix in Le Castellet on Sunday. Verstappen was helped by Charles Leclerc of Ferrari crashing out of the race in the 19th lap. Verstappen has now extended his lead at the top of the leaderboard to 63 points.
Max Verstappen started the race in the second position after qualifying on Saturday, with Ferrari again starting in pole position. This time it was Charles Leclerc who began the race in front. Verstappen's Red Bull teammate Sergio Pérez started right behind Verstappen in the third position.
The race had a quiet start, with Verstappen chasing leader Charles Leclerc but never getting enough to worry the 24-year-old from Monaco.
But the race took a dramatic twist in Verstappen's favor after 18 laps when Leclerc crashed out of the race. Due to a mistake by Leclerc, he crashed into the barricade, leaving Verstappen clear to take the lead. Leclerc, fortunately, left the car unharmed.
"Mistake, mistake, I've been saying - I've been performing at the highest level of my career, but if I keep making these mistakes... We were the strongest car today. If we lose the championship by 32 points, I know where they are coming from. It's unacceptable." Leclerc told reporters about the crash.
Verstappen's main rival from last season, Lewis Hamilton, was in the second position. However, fans hoping for another classic battle between the two will have left disappointed as Verstappen cruised to a victory with minimal difficulty.
"I think we had really good pace from the start, but following around here with the heat, I could only go for a move once. We tried to stay clam, stay close. You never know how the race is going to go, but the car was quick today. I hope Charles is okay. I was just looking after the tyres until the end,” Verstappen told reporters after the race.
Max Verstappen's teammate Sergio Pérez finished in the fourth position. This was Verstappen's second win in two years in the French Grand Prix. He will return for the Hungarian Grand Prix next Sunday.