|Race 7 of 16 in the 1988 Formula One season|
|Date||July 3, 1988|
|Official name||Rhône-Poulenc Grand Prix de France|
|Location||Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, France|
|Course||Permanent racing facility
3.813 km (2.369 mi)
|Distance||80 laps, 305.040 km (189.543 mi)|
|Weather||Sunny and hot|
|Time||1:11.737 on lap 45|
The two McLarens lined up in their usual front row places, ahead of the two Ferraris, but, for the first time that season, it wasn't Ayrton Senna on pole. A newly motivated Alain Prost had stopped Senna taking a record seventh straight pole with a time of 1:07.589, half a second in front of his team mate. Behind the Ferrari-filled second row were the two normally aspirated Benetton-Fords, a great performance at a fast circuit like Paul Ricard and ahead of the two Lotus-Hondas that filled row 4.
Nigel Mansell, who 12 months earlier had sat on the pole with a time of 1:06.454 in his Williams-Honda turbo, could only manage ninth place on the grid with a time of 1:10.337 in his normally aspirated Williams-Judd.
Ligier, the leading French team in Formula One at the time, had a disastrous weekend with both René Arnoux and Stefan Johansson failing to qualify for the team's home Grand Prix, though they did have a celebration of sorts over the weekend as Arnoux turned 40 the day after the race. Also failing to qualify were the Zakspeed turbo of Piercarlo Ghinzani and the Tyrrell of Julian Bailey. Ghinzani was excluded for missing a weight check.
Race summary 
For the first time in the season there was a genuine battle for the lead - between Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna, with Prost managing to maintain a 2-second advantage despite worries in the McLaren pit about overly high fuel consumption. The Benetton challenge faltered with Thierry Boutsen's retirement due to electrical problems on lap 17. On lap 22 Gerhard Berger spun to let his team-mate Michele Alboreto through to 3rd place. On lap 34 Senna pitted for tyres, followed 3 laps later by Prost whilst Riccardo Patrese's brakes failed. By lap 45, following traffic problems for Senna and a streak of fast laps, Prost had caught his team-mate and on lap 61 passed him at the inside at the Signes corner, while the Brazilian was having trouble lapping Alex Caffi and Pierluigi Martini. Senna eased off after suffering a gear linkage problem, due to which he lost gears, to follow his team-mate to the line. The Ferraris came home in 3rd and 4th - Berger had regained his 3rd place, but lost it again in the subsequent pit stop.
Nelson Piquet maintained 5th place throughout the race, holding it in the last 15 laps despite having lost second gear, with Alessandro Nannini collecting the final point. Nigel Mansell's retirement from 8th, with suspension problems, the seventh in a row, promoted the March team to 8th and 9th - a great achievement, especially in the case of Ivan Capelli who, after his crash in Detroit, was racing with a fractured left foot.
Alain Prost set the fastest lap of the race on lap 45 with a time of 1:11.737. This compared to the lap record of 1:09.548 set in the 1987 French Grand Prix by Nelson Piquet in a Williams-Honda.
|12||22||Andrea de Cesaris||Rial-Ford||1:11.854||1:10.861||+3.272|
Standings after the race 
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
- Unless otherwise indicated, all race results are taken from "The Official Formula 1 website". Retrieved 2007-07-12.
1988 Detroit Grand Prix
|FIA Formula One World Championship
1988 British Grand Prix
1987 French Grand Prix
|French Grand Prix||Next race:
1989 French Grand Prix
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