Carlos Sainz achieved his first pole position in Formula 1 at a wet and tricky qualifying session at Silverstone. The Ferrari driver beat Max Verstappen to take his maiden P1 with his teammate Charles Leclerc taking third.
Verstappen had led the way through Q1 and Q2 and appeared to be on course to complete a clean sweep as he also topped the times ahead of the final runs in the final qualifying segment.
Indeed, Verstappen set the fastest first sector of Q3 on his last effort, but lost time around the rest of the lap and could not improve his personal best.
That meant he could not get back ahead of Sainz, who was shocked to take pole with a one minute, 40.983 seconds that he said “felt terrible”, despite setting the quickest Q3 times in the second and third sectors.
Leclerc wound up third as he spun through Chapel heading onto the Hanger straight on his final Q3 lap, after he had looked to be Verstappen’s closest challenger for pole before Sainz surprised everyone – including himself, as he asked his engineer “how did I do P1?!” after crossing the finishing line – to take pole.
Sergio Perez took fourth, ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris, both of whom had registered high placings through the early segments of qualifying, which was wet throughout after rain doused the Silverstone track in the 15 minutes ahead of the 3pm local start time.
Then came Fernando Alonso and George Russell, with Zhou Guanyu making it through to Q3 for the second race in a row and ending up ninth for Alfa Romeo.
Nicholas Latifi was delighted to make it through to Q3 for the first time, but he did not set a representative time in the final segment and so finished tenth and last of the shootout runners.
Q2 began with the rain starting to fall harder again after it had stopped by the end of Q1, which put a premium on fast, early banker efforts.
This nearly caught out Sainz as he languished in the drop zone after the initial laps in the middle segment, but the Ferrari driver was able to jump up the order at the halfway point, after which the rain falling ever harder meant no drivers were able to improve and the elimination order was set.
Pierre Gasly was the highest placed driver to be knocked out in P11 for AlphaTauri, followed by Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas – and early spinner in Q1 at Club – and Yuki Tsunoda.
Daniel Ricciardo wound up down in P14 in the other McLaren, followed by Alpine driver Esteban Ocon.
In Q1, the opening segment began with rain falling steadily, but the pack nevertheless headed out on the intermediates, which was the compound used throughout qualifying and the drivers were generally fuelled to circulate throughout all three segments.
All five of the drivers knocked out at the end of Q1 set their quickest times right at the end in the best of the conditions of the whole qualifying session, but could not improve enough to escape, with Alex Albon finishing just P16 in the updated Williams and frustrated at being ordered to complete cool down laps between flying efforts.
Then came Kevin Magnussen and Sebastian Vettel, who were followed in unison by their respective Haas and Aston Martin teammates –Mick Schumacher and Lance Stroll, who brought up the rear of the field.
Vettel’s exit in P18 marks the four-time world champion’s first ever Q1 elimination at Silverstone.
So congratulations to Carlos Sainz in scoring his first pole position in Formula 1. It’s been a tricky few races for the Ferrari driver so this front row should boost his confidence.
British Grand Prix, qualifying results:
1 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:40.983
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:41.055
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:41.298
4 Sergio Perez Red Bull 1:41.616
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:41.995
6 Lando Norris McLaren 1:42.084
7 Fernando Alonso Alpine 1:42.116
8 George Russell Mercedes 1:42.161
9 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1:42.719
10 Nicholas Latifi Williams 2:03.095
11 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 1:43.702
12 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 1:44.232
13 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1:44.311
14 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 1:44.355
15 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:45.190
16 Alex Albon Williams 1:42.078
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:42.159
18 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1:42.666
19 Mick Schumacher Haas 1:42.708
20 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:43.430