Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc grabbed his 16th pole position after setting the fastest lap at the 2022 French GP.

With assistance from Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc claimed pole position for the French GP on Saturday. It was the Monegasque driver’s 16th pole position of his career.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen finished 0.304 seconds behind Leclerc in Q3 but the Championship leader will start Sunday’s race alongside Leclerc on the front row. The Dutchman’s teammate, Sergio Perez, finished P3 and will start ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

Seven-time champion Hamilton headed a group of three British drivers, with teammate George Russell of Mercedes and Lando Norris of McLaren trailing behind.

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Fernando Alonso of Alpine, Yuki Tsunoda of Alpha Tauri, Carlos Sainz, and Kevin Magnussen of Haas, who also starts from the rear, rounded out the top 10.

Sainz will start from the rear of the grid due to a string of fines for excessive engine consumption, therefore Ferrari decided to employ him to help Leclerc win pole position by offering the 24-year-old a slipstream.

The slipstream strategy did not initially work too well since Leclerc and Sainz’s coordination was off. On the subsequent laps, though, Sainz pulled out of the way for Leclerc to pass as they entered the chicane that divides the lengthy Mistral straight, and they remained in each other’s slipstream until they reached the flat-out Signes turn.

Leclerc was able to pass through the middle sector of the track—where Ferrari performed worse—more quickly than he did on his last lap thanks to this, and the car’s acceleration in the final sector’s turns helped him pull away even more.

Leclerc expressed astonishment at Ferrari’s performance, noting that Red Bull had seemed to have an advantage in practice. After securing his eighth pole of the year and 16th overall: “It was a nice lap. I had a difficult time putting together a lap all weekend, but I succeeded.”

“Carlos helped me out as well, and that was incredible teamwork. Without him, it would have been much closer, so I want to give him a big thank you and wish him luck in the battle. Let’s see how tomorrow goes, but the car feels wonderful right now” Leclerc concluded.

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