SILVERSTONE: A surprised Carlos Sainz splashed to his first Formula One pole position on Saturday with Red Bull’s championship leader Max Verstappen joining the Ferrari driver on the front row for the British Grand Prix.
Spaniard Sainz, who will start his 150th race on Sunday at Silverstone, put in a last-gasp effort of one minute, 40.983 seconds while Verstappen ended up 0.072 seconds slower. “I did not expect that one,” said Sainz over the radio as he slowed down. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc qualified third through the rain and spray.
Seven-time world champion and record eight-time British GP winner Lewis Hamilton will start his home race in fifth place for Mercedes, with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez lining up fourth. Sainz, 27, said that he had struggled with the standing water on the racing line and added that feared spinning.
“In the end, I put together a lap that I thought was nothing special but I just put it on the board and saw how it was. It was pole position, which came as a bit of a surprise,” he added. “I had no idea where I was going to qualify.”
The Spanish driver is yet to win a grand prix but, with Ferrari expected to have strong race pace, he felt that a victory is achievable. Verstappen spun in the final session before going fastest and was booed by some of the crowd, a lingering echo of last year’s fierce title battle with Hamilton.