Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz took his first pole position in Formula 1 with a superb lap in wet British Grand Prix qualifying, beating Max Verstappen’s Red Bull, who had led most of the session.
Rain began to fall at Silverstone moments before the start of qualifying, with Verstappen leading comfortably in both Q1 and Q2. Verstappen led Q3 in the closing moments to take P1 with an effort described by Desperate as “terrible” as Sainz unleashed his final lap to stop the clock at 1m40.983. On the weekend of his 150th Grand Prix start, Terrible was very good.
Sainz was 0.072s ahead of Verstappen, Leclerc in P3, 0.315s ahead of his team-mate – with both Leclerc and Verstappen suffering Q3 spins on promising laps.
Sergio Perez was P4 in the second Red Bull ahead of the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton, with Lando Norris P6 as Fernando Alonso and George Russell rounded out the top eight. Zhou Guanyu was P9, while Nicolas Latifi pulled off a scare at Turn 1 to take P10 in his first Q3 appearance.
Red Bull Racing
Red Bull Racing
Pierre Gasly was P11 for AlphaTauri, ahead of the second Alfa Romeo of Valtteri Bottas and Gasly’s home team Yuki Tsunoda, while Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon failed to recover from a bad position in Q2, taking P14 and P15.
Meanwhile, Alex Alban was P16 – Williams’ extensive upgrade package, despite Latifi’s absence – as both Haas and Aston Martins dropped out in the first category, followed by Kevin Magnussen. In P17, ahead of Sebastian Vettel, Mick Schumacher and Lance Stroll.
So, Sines has finally secured that first pole position. But can victory come on Sunday at the Silverstone track he adores? Tune in to find out.
Qualifying Highlights: British Grand Prix
Q1 – Haas and Aston Martins both retire as rain drenches the Silverstone track
With just 10 minutes to go before the start of qualifying, the ever-reliable British rain clouds dumped their contents on the Silverstone circuit, prompting all teams to dive on intermediate tires – and heavy traffic ahead of the green light as drivers tried to board a banked lap in case the rain intensified.
As it did, the rain really eased throughout the opening stretch and a dry line appeared around the iconic 3.6-mile track as Verstappen set the initial benchmark with a 1m 40.452, improving to 1m 39.975s after one lap, 0.655s clear. Leclerc.
Now the question is, will the track improve enough for teams to match the slicks? But ultimately, while the track improved, it didn’t improve enough for tread-less tires.
As the clock ticked down to zero in the 18-minute qualifying opener, Leclerc briefly passed Verstappen back to take the lead, a classic all-purple sector lap from Verstappen that saw him clock 1m 39.129s, 0.717s higher. In Monaco, George Russell put himself in P3, 0.899s off the final pace, ahead of Sainz, Hamilton and Perez.
Below, Daniel Ricciardo was in danger of an embarrassing Q1 exit on the scene of his F1 debut 11 years ago, with a last-gasp effort eventually lifting him to P14. At Williams, and despite not being matched by his team-mate’s significant upgrades, Nicolas Latifi made Q2 for the first time this season in P15, with Alex Alban out by 0.080s in P16 and bemoaning Williams’ use of tactics. Down the lap rather than constantly spinning harder.
The mood mirrored the mood of Haas and Aston Martin, meanwhile, as both teams lost both cars in Q1, with Vettel venting his raw frustration with a series of steering bangs.
Knockout: Alban, Magnussen, Vettel, Schumacher, Stroll
Q2 – Latifi makes his first Q3 appearance at the expense of Ocon and Ricciardo
Everyone was now trying to figure out what the weather was going to do for the remaining qualifiers – the airwaves were full of engineers giving various weather opinions…
As it turns out, the rain will steadily increase throughout Q2, meaning drivers who get a good lap in the board early gates will have a distinct advantage. Verstappen led the way once again, clocking a lap of 1m 40.655s, a second and a half slower than he managed in Q1, with Hamilton – who knows a thing or two about lapping Silverstone in the wet – slotting in P2, 0.407s behind. s off.
When the checkered flag flew for Q2, the timesheets were yellow and none of the drivers in the bottom five elimination zone had improved their final efforts. That means Esteban Ocon finds himself in P15, one place in Ricciardo’s McLaren. The AlphaTauris were both out – 11th for Gasly and Tsunoda 13th not bad given their pace struggles this weekend – Bottas 12th.
Nicholas Latifi was One of the drivers to record a solid opening lap – and it was enough to propel the under pressure Williams driver into Q3 for the first time in his career as he took P10 behind Chinese driver Zhou Guanyu who continued his impressive run. As the only alpha in the top 10.
So, both Red Bulls, Ferraris and Mercedes in Q3, joined by McLaren’s Norris, Alpins Alonso and the aforementioned Cho and Latifi.
Knockout: Gasly, Bottas, Tsunoda, Ricciardo, Okan
Q3 – Sainz banks first pole position as Verstappen and Leclerc spin
It was intermittent Tire of the day For Q3, rumors of further rain for the existing mist were heard over the team radio as the drivers took to the slick Silverstone track. Again a banker lap seemed necessary.
Verstappen appeared to be setting one up as his RB18 performed a neat pirouette as he came out of Stow. Is he unconscious? No, he posted two purple sectors en route to P2 before improving on his second attempt to set 1m 42.966s. “More rain expected, keep pushing,” Verstappen is told, and the Dutchman duly puts his foot in and continues to lap.
With two minutes to go, Hamilton and Leclerc’s Verstappen looked poised to take the win in qualifying. But then out of nowhere, Sainz has flown under the radar since leading FP2 on Friday afternoon. And with time running out, Sainz took the checkered flag with enough laps for the provisional pole.
Verstappen and Leclerc were quickly closing in behind – but then Leclerc spun at turn 14, the yellow flags lifting Verstappen and handing pole position to Sainz.
When the Spaniard learned of his victory, he responded in disbelief: “I was terrible there! How did I get P1?!”
“You held it together like a smooth operator!” His engineer replied with a smile.
2022 British GP qualifying: Carlos Sainz claims sensational maiden pole at Silverstone
Spectacular scenes in the Ferrari garage as the Scuderia unveiled their famous Spanish fare. Verstappen settled for P2, with Leclerc edging out 0.072s throughout qualifying, third ahead of Perez.
Hamilton looked to be threatening a front-row start, but Mercedes admitted it was disappointing to finish fifth to team-mate Russell’s eighth in the end – given a package of upgrades for the W13.
Lando Norris and Fernando Alonso were “very satisfied” between the Silver Arrows. Zhou Guanyu finished a decent ninth, while a big spin from Latifi at Turn 1 in Q3, which the Canadian was lucky to escape unscathed, eventually finished 10th.
“First of all, thanks to the whole crowd for cheering and thanks to everyone for staying out in this rain. Spaniards, we still struggle a bit with this rain, but you can say you’re used to it. Thanks for being there, it was a good lap, but I was struggling with stagnant water – there was a lot of stagnant water on the race line in the intermediates. Getting photos was very easy.
“Finally I put a lap together and thought it was nothing special, but put it on the board and see how it looks. Pole position, which was a bit of a surprise… If I base my FP2 pace on it, we should be in a good position to try and hold it. I’m sure Max and Charles will put more pressure, but I’ll do my best” – Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
The British Grand Prix will take place on Sunday, July 3 at 1500 local time. Lewis Hamilton will go in search of what could be a ninth victory on the F1 circuit. Can he pull it off? Or will Carlos Sainz take his first win? We can’t wait to find out.