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Formula 1

Sainz shocks himself with first F1 pole at wet Silverstone

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
4 min read

Ferrari Formula 1 driver Carlos Sainz claimed his maiden pole position in grand prix racing in a wet British Grand Prix qualifying at Silverstone.

After mere drops in the day’s preceding W Series race, the rain properly arrived mere minutes before the start of F1 qualifying – with track conditions varying through the three segments but never approaching anything resembling slick-tyre weather.

And with teams anticipating a potential shower late on in Q3, it gave extra urgency to the pole shoot-out – which was perhaps reflected in Verstappen looping his Red Bull RB18 around coming out of Stowe on his first push laps.

It meant precious little, however, because two laps later Verstappen jumped nearly two seconds clear of then-leader Charles Leclerc.

Yet, with the predicted shower failing to materialise in time, the Ferraris kept the pressure up – and while Leclerc spun on his final attempt, bringing out yellow flags that Verstappen had to slow for, Sainz jumped ahead with a 1m40.983s.


This gave him pole over Verstappen by a tenth and a half, with Leclerc a close third and Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez completing the top four thanks to a late improvement.

“No way!” a laughing Sainz said when informed of pole. “Holy s**t. I didn’t expect that one! I felt terrible out there.”

Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were split by under two tenths, yet Hamilton was fifth and Russell only eighth, with McLaren’s Lando Norris and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso slotting in between them.

Rookie Guanyu Zhou led the way for Alfa Romeo in ninth, while Williams’s Nicholas Latifi was 10th after booking his first-ever Q3 appearance – with team-mate Alex Albon, in the new-spec FW44 to Latifi’s old-spec car, eliminated in Q1.

The Q2 eliminations were decided with minutes to spare until the chequered flag as rain picked up, leaving those in the drop zone to plug away at hopeless laps that hinted at improvement early on but were immediately rendered uncompetitive by the wetter sections of the track.

Pierre Gasly led those dropping out in 11th, albeit that was likely an acceptable outcome given he flirted with elimination in Q1.

Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas had to settle for 12th, ahead of Gasly’s AlphaTauri team-mate Yuki Tsunoda, lamenting a mistake on his best lap, and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, the Aussie ending up two-and-a-half seconds down on team-mate Norris.

And Esteban Ocon was nearly as many as three seconds down on the other Alpine of Alonso, qualifying in 15th.

The upgraded Williams FW44 of Albon had favourable track position in the frantic closing seconds of Q1, yet could not outpace Latifi – who wound up just under a tenth quicker.

Left in 16th as a result, Albon was thoroughly frustrated at the chequered flag, questioning the team’s decision to go for cooldown laps when he had “no grip” and saying it had tried to be “too smart” with is strategy.

Alongside him, the Haas and Aston Martin rosters were eliminated in full.

Kevin Magnussen, Mick Schumacher and Lance Stroll all switched to fresh inters late on in Q1 and couldn’t take profit in time, ending up 17th, 19th and 20th respectively.

Stroll’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel stayed out on his existing set, but was first to take the chequered flag, therefore missing out on the very best of the conditions. Slotting in between the Haas duo, he reacted with an exasperated “not again” when told he’d been eliminated.

Qualifying Results

Pos Name Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1m40.19s 1m41.602s 1m40.983s
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1m39.129s 1m40.655s 1m41.055s
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m39.846s 1m41.247s 1m41.298s
4 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 1m40.521s 1m42.513s 1m41.616s
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m40.428s 1m41.062s 1m41.995s
6 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.515s 1m41.821s 1m42.084s
7 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 1m41.598s 1m42.209s 1m42.116s
8 George Russell Mercedes 1m40.028s 1m41.725s 1m42.161s
9 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m40.791s 1m42.64s 1m42.719s
10 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1m41.998s 1m43.273s 2m03.095s
11 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Red Bull 1m41.68s 1m43.702s
12 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m41.396s 1m44.232s
13 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Red Bull 1m41.893s 1m44.311s
14 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.933s 1m44.355s
15 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1m41.73s 1m45.19s
16 Alex Albon Williams-Mercedes 1m42.078s
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m42.159s
18 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m42.666s
19 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 1m42.708s
20 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m43.43s
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