The lead Red Bull and overall championship leader finished 0.258 seconds clear of title rival Lewis Hamilton in Saturday qualifying with fellow Mercedes Valtteri Bottas next up in third. Sergio Perez, winner last time out in Azerbaijan, starts fourth in the other Red Bull ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly.
Hamilton has dominated the past two editions of the French race, winning both from pole, but the seven-time world champion has had no answer for the pace of Red Bull and Verstappen here this weekend. Hamilton, using Bottas’ old chassis following a planned rotation of parts, has not been entirely at one with his machine, complaining in practice on Friday that there was something wrong with his car.
Verstappen lines up at the start with a four-point advantage in the title race and will hope to extend it by the end of the day. Follow all the latest updates from Circuit Paul Ricard: