French Grand Prix: Verstappen wins ahead of Hamilton as Leclerc crashes out

Max Verstappen took a significant step towards defending his Formula One championship by winning the tumultuous French Grand Prix ahead of Lewis Hamilton, while his main rival Charles Leclerc threw away his chances by crashing out of the race in dramatic fashion.

Two laps after the Red Bull made its first pit stop, the Ferrari driver, who needed a strong finish to keep his title hopes alive, lost control at the Beausset right-hander.

After a frantic and ill-tempered battle with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez in the closing laps, Lewis Hamilton finished second, and his Mercedes teammate George Russell finished third and on the podium.

Carlos Sainz of Ferrari finished fifth and questioned his team’s decision to make a second pit stop after he took third place from Perez with 11 laps remaining.

“The car was quick today – of course, unlucky for Charles, I hope he is OK – but I just did my race and looked after the tyres,” said Verstappen.

“We still have a bit of work to do, over a single lap especially, so we just have to keep on working.”

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