As the season reaches the final few races, Max Verstappen is looking all ready to bag his second world championship. The Red Bull driver extended his lead over second placed Charles Leclerc to 63 points. The Ferrari driver crashed out while leading at Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet. 

Verstappen leads the driver charts with 233 points. He has won seven out of 12 races this season. The Red Bull star’s career wins stand at 27. 

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While Verstappen won the French GP, Seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton finished second in his 300th grand prix. George Russell’s Mercedes came third and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez fourth. 

“I think we had really good pace from the start. But it was unlucky for Charles. I just did my race,” Verstappen said.

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Leclerc’s race ended on Lap 18 when he lost the rear of his car coming out of Turn 11, spinning 360 degrees before crashing into a tire wall. Leclerc could not speak at first, breathing heavily in his helmet before telling his team the mishap was caused by a throttle problem.

He then screamed a furious “Noooooooooo!”

It’s the third time this season Leclerc has failed to finish a race, while Ferrari has had seven DNF’s through 12 races. Leclerc’s failure Sunday came two weeks after a throttle problem almost cost him victory at the Austrian GP.

Leclerc later said the crash was driver error.

“We’ll add things up at the end of the season, but if we’re 25 or 30 points short at the season I can only blame myself,” Leclerc said. “I couldn’t go into reverse, but those are small details. You just can’t put a car into the wall.”

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As drivers switched tires under the safety car, Ferrari’s mistakes continued. Carlos Sainz Jr. received a five-second penalty for an unsafe release that almost led to a collision with a Williams car.

Sainz had passed Russell and Perez when his team told him to pit for new tires with 10 laps left.

“Come on, guys, I can’t believe you told me to box then,” Sainz grumbled. “I don’t know why we boxed. I don’t understand.”

After the race, he explained his position.

“At Ferrari we get super criticized for things other teams might go through in their pit stop window. We are not the disaster people seem to say we are,” Sainz said. “Yes I wanted to stay out, I maybe saw a podium position. The team has a lot more data on their screens. They did it with the best intentions and best spirit.

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“My point of view is that if I couldn’t pass Checo, I would box. The moment I passed him, I thought ‘See if I could pull away.’ At that stage, the numbers said it was impossible I would make it to the end. In the moment my feeling was different but I didn’t see the numbers.”

Fernando Alonso of Alpine finished sixth, followed by Lando Norris of McLaren, Esteban Ocon of Alpine, Daniel Ricciardo of McLaren and Lance Stroll of Aston Martin rounding out the top 10.