Formula 1 – British Grand Prix: Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) takes pole ahead of Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

Dantesque conditions, in the rain, in the cold and in a disconcerting wind, twenty reckless and finally an unexpected hero: Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) found in Silverstone an unforgettable setting for his first career pole position, Saturday, at the end of a thrilling qualifying hour. And as he has a sense of history, the Spaniard will start from this place for his 150th participation in Formula 1, Sunday at the British Grand Prix.

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Until then never rewarded on Saturday, five times second in the race but never winner, the 27-year-old from Madrid opened his record for good with a first distinction that he fetched with the strength of his wrist and his sense of balance on a sodden track with renewed rain. Max Verstappen (Red Bull), who had dominated the first two qualifying rounds, experienced it by starting in a 360° attack in Q3, just like Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) at the end of the session.

After a tremendous suspense – Sainz, Verstappen, rookie Zhou and veteran Alonso swapped the lead position – the second Maranello driver won the decision in a tightrope walker lap in 1’40” 983, under the checkered flag, in the middle of the traps, not the least of which was hydroplaning.

Sainz on fire and finally on pole, ahead of Verstappen

Winner for the first time this season of his duel with the Reds against Charles Leclerc on the chrono lap – if we do not take into account the Monegasque’s no show in Q2 in Montreal – the son of the 1990 world rally champion and 1992, named after him Carlos, therefore achieved the feat of beating Max Verstappen, author of the two pole positions disputed on a wet track this year, at Imola and Montreal. And it was close: 0.072 exactly.

In this atmosphere of chaos and a classification in permanent recomposition, it was above all necessary to keep the “intermediate” tires in temperature to hope to sign a convincing result. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) and Sergio Pérez (Red Bull), ranked third and fourth at 0″315 and 0″633 respectively, may have done it better than the others, and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) a little less by failing fifth, at 1″012. Just ahead of Lando Norris (McLaren), Fernando Alonso (Alpine) and George Russell (Mercedes), whom he only beat by 0″166.

These two places, the French would have liked to take them, but they failed in Q2, for various reasons. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), lacking bearings and confidence – an essential factor at Silverstone – on Friday, nevertheless took eleventh place, while Esteban Ocon (Alpine) suffered a technical problem which prevented him from aim better than fifteenth position. If it rains on Sunday, the two Normans will have another chance to shine. What all the drivers around them say to each other on the grid.

Ocon and Gasly failed in Q2

But as in Montreal, the previous stage of the championship, there was room for surprise guests in the Top 10, in the midst of these big names. We remember that Mick Schumacher (Haas) and Guanyu Zhou (Alfa Romeo) had been the lucky ones in Canada. And this time, it was Nicholas Latifi, never seen in Q3, who accompanied the Chinese in this final session of the brave. And no one will blame him at Williams for having let go before the end, too happy with his tenth place and to return without having broken anything.

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