An anguished scream on team radio from Leclerc summarized another frustrating day for Ferrari, after the Monegasque driver -- having led from pole -- slammed into the wall at high-speed on lap 18.
It is the third time this season that the 24-year-old has failed to finish a race having led. Leclerc has converted only two of his seven pole starts into wins, with the latest gifting Verstappen the opportunity to open up a 63-point gap in the driver's championship.
And Red Bull's reigning world champion -- after checking in with his team to ask if Leclerc was ok -- made no mistake to win his 27th career grand prix, and his second in a row at the Circuit Paul Ricard.
"The car was quick today," Verstappen said. "Unlucky for Charles, I hope he is OK, but I just did my race and looked after the tyres.
"I always try to get the most points possible. Some moves, you see they are on, and sometimes you just have to back out and wait for the end of the race. That's what we did.
"There are plenty more races to come where you have to score points. In that aspect, today was a great day."
An excellent day for Mercedes saw Lewis Hamilton and George Russell secure the team's first double podium of the season. After three straight third place finishes, Hamilton went one better in his 300th race, while Russell overtook Red Bull's Sergio Perez with two laps to go to cap another impressive showing.
More misery for Leclerc
Finishing fourth from pole at his home race in Monaco after an errant pit stop strategy, a double DNF at Azerbaijan, fifth in Canada, and frustrations with team orders in Great Britain; Leclerc's fortunes had looked to be changing with a win in Austria earlier this month.
A first victory since April had looked set to thrust him back into championship contention, and the Ferrari driver started strongly in France, getting away well and starting to steadily build a lead from Verstappen.
But disaster struck on lap 18 when Leclerc appeared to lose the rear of his car heading into the fast turn 11, spinning into the wall. A safety car soon followed, but the 24-year-old emerged from the car unscatched.
"No!" he screamed on team radio, initially appearing to blame a throttle issue that had almost cost him the