The almost uncharacteristic two-week break in the 2022 Formula 1 calendar after the tense latter laps last time around in Austria ends this weekend with the French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard.
French Grand Prix F1
What to expect ahead of the race
The penultimate round before the traditional European summer break is not known for producing wheel-to-wheel action, but rather a procession that has led to many questioning its presence.
At 5.8 km, the 53-lap race is likely to be a Ferrari and Red Bull affair, with the Prancing Horse, literally, riding on a high after Charles Leclerc’s dramatic and long-awaited win in Austria.
With an extensive array of upgrades present though, expectations are high that a rejuvenated Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton could emerge as serious challengers once the lights go out on Sunday.
Free practice, qualifying and race schedule
Free practice sessions will be screened on SuperSport (channel 215) and will take place at the following South African times:
- Practice 1: 14:00 to 15:00 on Friday 22 July
- Practice 2: 17:00 to 18:00 on Friday 22 July
- Practice 3: 13:00 to 14:00 on Saturday 23 July
- Qualifying: 16:00 to 17:00 on Saturday 23 July
- Race: 15:00 to 17:00 on Sunday 24 July
Watch: Vettel drive iconic 1922 Aston Martin ‘Green Pea’
What happened at the Austrian Grand Prix
Ferrari’s Leclerc recorded his third victory of the year and second since the Australian Grand Prix in April after a tense last few laps at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.
In a race characterised by numerous drivers being warned and given five-second penalties for exceeding track limits, the Monegasque finished a scant 1.5 seconds ahead of Max Verstappen after picking-up throttle problems less than nine laps from the end.
Forced to ease off to manage to the situation, Leclerc, who found himself behind a fast-starting Verstappen, only to pull off a bold move on lap 12 thanks to DRS, saw his almost four-second lead trimmed as frantic calls to the pits prevailed throughout the last few laps.