Carlos Sainz ‘knew it was coming’ as he clinched pole for the United States GP

Jamie Woodhouse
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, gives the thumb up. United States, October 2022.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, gives the thumb up after claiming pole in Austin. United States, October 2022.

On pole for the second time in his career, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz felt his wait for that achievement was drawing to a close in Austin.

Sainz put himself on pole in Formula 1 for the first time at the 2022 British Grand Prix, and with that arriving back in July, the Spaniard has been without a pole position since.

But Sainz had an opportunity at the United States Grand Prix to double his tally of career poles, team-mate Charles Leclerc taking a 10-place grid penalty for a new Internal Combustion Engine and turbo.

P2 could potentially have been enough then for Sainz, but he made sure to take things into his own hands, setting the outright pole time with a margin of 0.065s over Leclerc.

Told over team radio of his achievement, Sainz replied: “I knew it was coming guys, I knew it.”

Speaking to Sky Sports F1 post-qualifying, Sainz said: “It was a lot of fun. It was very tricky out there with these winds – it’s so gusty that every corner is a bit of an adventure with these cars and you don’t know how much grip you will get or how much grip to expect.

“I managed to put together a good lap without mistakes and [claim a] pole position – that was a long time coming after a few qualys in the dry getting very close to it but not getting there.”

World Champion Max Verstappen managed only the third fastest time, although by virtue of Leclerc’s penalty he will join Sainz on the front row.

And although Sainz had the beating of Verstappen over one lap, he sees Red Bull as favourites for the race.

“I’m not going to lie, for tomorrow Red Bull are still favourites,” said the Spaniard. “They normally get us in the race because Max does a good job and Red Bull have a very good car in race trim.

“But we will do everything we can to try and stay ahead and win the race.”

Leclerc felt Sainz was the Ferrari driver who did the better job in qualifying, with his focus now set on working his way back up through the pack as quickly as possible.

But while he will take advantage of an opportunity, there will be no “crazy risks” taken.

“I did my best, [but] the last lap wasn’t the best,” said Leclerc. “Carlos did a better job today and deserves to be on pole.

“I’ll be starting a bit further back because of the penalty, but the goal is to try and come back at the front as quickly as possible.

“I will give my best, as always. Again, we are starting 12th or 11th with the engine penalty we have. No crazy risks, but if there is opportunity I will be there to take it.”

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