Staying cool and overcoming the challenge of tyre wear in the searing heat of the French Grand Prix were the keys for Max Verstappen as he took advantage of Charles Leclerc's crash to prevail. 

The defending Formula One world champion extended his lead at the top of the standings to 63 points with victory in France for the second year in a row, capitalising after Leclerc spun into the barriers while leading in the opening quarter of the race.

That allowed Verstappen to take the lead under the safety car, and he remained there throughout even though the high temperatures put the tyres under pressure and another pit stop was not possible due to the long length of the pit lane at the Circuit Paul Ricard.

"I think we had really good pace at the start, I was putting pressure on Charles but following around here with this heat, the tyres were overheating a lot, I could never really go for a move," he said on the grid after the race.

"We just tried to stay calm, tried to stay close, we pitted a bit earlier. From there onwards, you never know how the race is going to go.

"The car was quick today and it was unlucky for Charles, I hope he's ok. From there onwards, I just did my race and looked after my tyres.

"With the pit lane being so long, you couldn't do another stop but the tyres were wearing a lot. It was all about looking after the tyres until the end."

Asked whether the win felt different as Leclerc wasn't there to battle with on the track, Verstappen added: "I was just trying to get the most points possible.

"Of course, sometimes you see moves are on and then you need to back out, wait maybe for the end of the race. 

"That is what we did, there are plenty more races to come where we have to score points and, in that aspect, I think today was a great day."

Hungary is up next before F1's summer break, with the Hungaroring a track many consider to be favourable to Ferrari and Verstappen admitted improvements need to be made.

Verstappen said: "We still have a lot of work to do, over a single lap especially, so we will just keep working."