Carlos Sainz was left surprised his “nothing special” lap had earned the first pole position of his career at Silverstone.
The Spaniard will start from P1 at the British Grand Prix having crossed the line 0.072s ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Sainz earned top spot during his 15oth grand prix weekend and was made to work for it, wrestling to keep his car on track at times during a wet qualifying session.
After his P1 was confirmed, the Ferrari driver seemed shocked to hear he had secured pole and was heard giggling over the team radio when told it would be his car lining up at the front on Sunday.
Speaking immediately after the session, Sainz commented he thought his lap had been “nothing special” and said he had to battle a lot of standing water.
“It was a good lap but I was struggling a lot with standing water on the intermediate [tyres]. There was a lot more standing water on the racing line and it was very easy to get snaps and lose the lap,” he said. “[It was] also more difficult to get temperature into the intermediates with this condition.
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“In the end, I put together a lap I thought 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.”
Sainz had finished in the top three in both FP1 and FP2 before slipping to P6 in the final practice of the weekend. The former McLaren driver said he hoped to base his race pace on the kind of speed he showed on Friday.
“The pace has been there all weekend, except for FP3 [where] we had some issues that we think we corrected for qualy.
“But if I base myself on my FP2 pace then we should be in a good position to try and hold on to it. I’m sure Max and Charles [Leclerc] will put a lot of pressure, but I will try my best of course.”
The 27-year-old also thanked the British fans who had stuck out the weather to watch and joked that, as a Spaniard, he was less used to such wet conditions.
“Thank you for the whole crowd for cheering on,” he said. “Thanks everyone for staying out there with this rain. Spaniards, we struggle a bit more with this rain, but you can tell you guys are used to it, so thanks for being there.”
Sainz will be hoping it is a weekend of firsts as he looks to also earn his maiden victory in the sport on Sunday.