Sainz revels in ‘emotional’ and 'surprising' maiden pole as Leclerc aims for Ferrari 1-2 at Silverstone
Carlos Sainz was understandably delighted to take his first ever Formula 1 pole position, while admitting that he hadn’t expected to take P1 for the 2022 British Grand Prix. Team mate Charles Leclerc was full of praise for the Spaniard, however, and said he was targeting a Ferrari one-two on Sunday, in whatever order that may be…
A sodden Silverstone welcomed all 20 drivers for qualifying on Saturday with FP2 leader Sainz getting the best of Max Verstappen in Q3, despite the fact that Verstappen had topped the previous two qualifying segments. Part of that was down to the fact that Verstappen was forced to slow for yellows triggered by a Leclerc spin – the result leaving Sainz suitably shocked.
“Obviously an emotional first pole position, it’s always special, no? Especially to do it at Silverstone in the wet, it just feels very, very good,” said Sainz. “Towards the end I decided to push for a couple of laps and put a decent lap on the board that didn’t feel amazing but it turned out to be pole position, so, good… Pole position, it came as a bit of a surprise.
“I didn’t know what lap time I had to do on that lap to go pole. I was convinced that maybe it was not going to be enough. Then it turned out to be enough and I was pretty happy to hear that – but that’s what I meant by ‘the lap wasn’t perfect’… but in the end in these conditions a lot of the time, it’s about putting it together and putting a decent lap on the board; not the most optimal, perfect lap of your life.”
Sainz will therefore lead off the grid for the first time in his F1 career – and now he wants to turn that into a maiden victory.
“Leading a formation lap will feel great in a Ferrari, I guess, and the first time I will do it. I think I haven’t forgot since I led a formation lap in World Series by Renault. I think I’ve led a couple of races in Formula 1, I think it was at Portimao, and it felt great. That’s the target, to do it again.
“Confidence is high… I can hold on to the lead and try to do my own race, pushing from the beginning.”
Team mate Leclerc qualified third and is third in the championship, 46 points behind Verstappen. He heaped praise upon Sainz – and said it’s “most important” for the Ferraris to deliver a one-two, which would be their first victory since Round 3 in Australia.
“I'm happy for Carlos; he did a great job today. I spun in that last lap, I knew it was the lap where I had to put everything together and I didn’t as a driver, so I didn’t deserve to be on pole,” said Leclerc.
“I think, of course, I would be very happy if Carlos wins the race tomorrow, then I’m not going to hide that I want to win too. But I think what is most important is that we finish one-two whatever way round it is. And if we can play strategic moves around the cars I’m pretty sure we will. So, let’s see how it goes tomorrow, but again, I felt confident with the car so let’s wait and see.”