Is this Mercedes' best chance to win a race in 2022? | F1

Leclerc held an advantage of just 0.008s over Verstappen following the opening runs of Q3 but pulled 0.304s clear of his main rival with his final flying lap after receiving a tow from Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz. 

It marks Leclerc’s 16th career pole and the seventh time this season that he has topped qualifying. 

The Monegasque heads into Sunday’s race looking to further cut Verstappen’s title lead after reducing it down to 38 points following a much-needed victory last time out at the Austrian Grand Prix. 

Sergio Perez was a further tenth behind his Red Bull teammate in third, while Lewis Hamilton was fourth for Mercedes, 0.893s off the pace. 

McLaren’s Lando Norris posted a late improvement to split the Mercedes drivers in fifth, with George Russell over three tenths behind Hamilton in sixth. 

Four-tenths further back was Fernando Alonso, who claimed seventh for Alpine at their home race. 

AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda took eighth, while Sainz and Haas driver Kevin Magnussen opted against setting lap times in Q3 with the pair dropping to the very back of the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix after being hit with engine penalties. 

That moves all the other drivers below them up two positions, with Daniel Ricciardo (who qualified 11th) due to start ninth for McLaren, ahead of Esteban Ocon (12th), who struggled to match the pace of his Alpine teammate in qualifying at his home race. 

Valtteri Bottas was 13th-fastest for Alfa Romeo, ahead of Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel and Alex Albon, who made it through to Q2 on his way to finishing 15th. 

There was disappointment for Pierre Gasly on home soil, with the Frenchman only 16th-fastest for AlphaTauri as he and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll (17th) set identical lap times. 

A huge sideways moment coming out of Turn 6 cost Guanyu Zhou as he ended up 18th for Alfa Romeo, with Haas’ Mick Schumacher and Nicholas Latifi’s Williams also suffering Q1 eliminations. 

Schumacher had posted a time good enough for 11th and a spot in Q2 but had his lap deleted for exceeding track limits at Turn 3.