Carlos Sainz jokes Max Verstappen might need helicopter to escape tifosi with Monza win

Thomas Maher
Monza: Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz celebrate their positions at the Italian Grand Prix.

Monza: Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz celebrate their positions at the Italian Grand Prix.

Should Max Verstappen prevent Ferrari from winning at Monza on Sunday, the Dutch driver might need to find a way to evade the tifosi…

Verstappen starts Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix from second place on the grid, having been pipped to pole position in the final seconds of Q3 by a stellar lap from Carlos Sainz.

Sainz’s pole for Ferrari sent the jubilant tifosi wild, with their cheers reverberating around the Monza circuit as the team claimed their third pole of the season – the first for Sainz.

Carlos Sainz jokes about Max Verstappen’s escape from Monza

While Sainz starts from pole, Verstappen is the clear obstacle standing between Ferrari and victory on home soil. The Dutch driver is chasing an unprecedented 10th consecutive win in F1 and, should he do so, will set a new record in the sport for consecutive victories.

Last weekend, Fernando Alonso joked about wanting to be able to leave Zandvoort safely as he eyed up Verstappen for the lead at the final restart – Verstappen having been in a controlling lead at his home race.

“I did think about trying to move on the last restart,” he said.

“But then I thought maybe I can’t exit the circuit, so I stayed calm in second!”

Asked whether he’ll be taking a similar mentality to the race on Sunday, knowing that almost every single fan in the grandstands and the city of Milan is cheering on the red cars, Verstappen said he has no intention of settling for second.

“No, I don’t think like that,” he told media, including PlanetF1.com.

“I’m only here to win and then we’ll figure out what happens leaving the track!

“The fans, of course, support Ferrari and they will always want to see a red car win, but they are also sensible – they are not hooligans so it’s OK!”

Polesitter Sainz, sitting alongside Verstappen, joked: “You can always go in a helicopter if not!”

Verstappen smiled in reply and said: “Yeah, or just barge through it so they have to run out of the way! We’ll be OK. I’m joking! We’ll be fine!”

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Carlos Sainz: I feel a sense of responsibility to the tifosi

Asked whether he’s feeling under intense pressure to deliver the maximum result in front of the adoring home crowd on Sunday, Sainz paused.

“I wouldn’t call it pressure,” he said.

“I would call it a sense of responsibility and a sense of wanting to give this crowd and this country the best possible version of yourself – both off the track and on the track with your performance.

“Honestly, I cannot be enjoying this weekend more than I’ve been enjoying it from the beginning. It’s been like that for the last three years since I’m a Ferrari driver. I cannot remember and cannot think of a better feeling than being a Ferrari driver in Monza.

“It’s a dream come true, something that I’m sure I will remember for the rest of my life to be going through these years of experience, something that I consider myself extremely lucky to do.

“Yeah, it’s a responsibility more than pressure.”

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