Carlos Sainz says his first pole position in Formula 1 at the British Grand Prix came as a surprise as he felt his final lap “was nothing special”.
The Spaniard pipped Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc to pole position in wet conditions at Silverstone, with Leclerc spinning and causing a yellow flag that forced Verstappen to back off for a spell. Prior to the final laps, Sainz had been quick but Verstappen looked clear favorite for pole and the Ferrari driver wasn’t expecting to hear his team tell him he had secured the first pole of his career.
“It was a good lap but I was struggling a lot with the standing water,” Sainz said. “On the intermediates there was a lot more standing water on the racing line and it was very easy to get snaps and lose the lap. Also more difficult to get temperature into the intermediates in these conditions.
“In the end I put together a lap and I thought it was nothing special but just put it on the board and see how it is — and it was pole position, which came as a bit of a surprise.
“First pole position is always special, and especially to do it in Silverstone in the wet just feels very good.”
Sainz believes he has the pace to convert pole into his first F1 victory given the performance he saw from Ferrari in the dry on Friday, though he has some concerns about the car’s handling in final practice.
“The pace has been there all weekend, except for FP3 where we had some issues that we think we corrected for qualifying. If I base myself on my FP2 pace we should be in a good position to try and hold onto it. I’m sure Max and Charles will try to put on a lot of pressure, but I will try my best of course.
“Confidence is high. If I look back to FP2 the pace was there and I was feeling good with the car and pushing well on the tires. If the feeling is like it was in FP2 I am confident that I can hold onto the lead and try to do my own race, pushing from the beginning.
“If the balance and the car is like FP3, then I think it could be a bit more tricky but we’ve changed a few things since FP3 because we found ourselves with some issues that we didn’t expect and it looked like in qualifying improved a bit. So hopefully the car is back like it was in FP2 and I can do my own race.”