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‘I’ve got goosebumps!’ – Sainz hails ‘incredible’ run to pole on Ferrari’s home soil

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Carlos Sainz was full of smiles and emotion after converting his strong practice pace into a breakthrough pole position for himself and Ferrari at the Italian Grand Prix in a thrilling qualifying session.

Having topped FP2 and FP3, Sainz narrowly got the better of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and team mate Charles Leclerc in the grid-deciding hour at Monza to secure his first pole of the season, and his first since last year’s visit to the Circuit of The Americas.

READ MORE: Sainz pips Verstappen and Leclerc to pole in ultra-close Italian GP qualifying

Speaking after he stepped out of the car, to the roar from Ferrari’s dedicated home fans, Sainz said: “Wow. It’s been such an intense qualifying, especially in Q3, where we all three went for it – we were very, very on the limit.

“In that last lap, I knew I had some lap time to come in Ascari and Parabolica. I went for it and it worked well, thank God, because I really pushed hard in that last lap!

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Sainz took in the applause from the tifosi after securing his first pole of the season

“[I’ve got] goosebumps since I crossed the finish line. The whole in lap [I was] watching the crowd. Getting out of the car and seeing this… I haven’t stopped the goosebumps, it’s incredible.

“In the hotel, arriving to the track, everywhere we go, it’s just noise, support and encouragement, and it’s the best feeling you can have as a driver, as an athlete.”

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Asked about his podium chances on Sunday, he replied: “That’s the number one target. I’m going to give it everything, pull out of P1, [get] a good start, a good first stint and see if we can battle Max. Normally in the long runs he is quicker, but I’m going to give it [my] all.”

Leclerc, meanwhile, felt he could have at least joined Sainz on the front row of the grid had he picked up a tow on his final Q3 lap, but admitted to his team mate holding the upper hand all weekend.

Qualifying Highlights: 2023 Italian Grand Prix

“My feeling can only be amazing with the tifosi, of course,” he said, when asked to reflect on his session. “On my side, I’m a bit disappointed, I obviously wanted to be first, but seeing that Carlos is P1 is great for Ferrari. He has done an incredible job all weekend.

“I’ve been struggling quite a bit more FP1, FP2, FP3, and qualifying I managed to put everything together, so I was really happy. Unfortunately, in Q3, I didn’t have a slipstream, and this cost us one position at least, but it’s fine.

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“We should be happy, especially on my side I’ve been struggling a lot. I don’t smile very often when I’m P3, but obviously being here and having that much support is an amazing feeling. We will try to do a first and second with Carlos [in the race].”

Ferrari head into Sunday’s 53-lap encounter looking to secure their first F1 victory since last year’s Austrian Grand Prix, a triumph claimed by Leclerc, while Sainz’s last win came at Silverstone earlier in that season.

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