Carlos Sainz edged out Max Verstappen to claim the first pole position of his Formula One career for Sunday’s British Grand Prix.
In the rain at Silverstone, Ferrari’s Sainz excelled to see off world champion Verstappen by just 0.072 seconds, with Charles Leclerc third in the other scarlet car in a thrilling qualifying session.
Sergio Perez took fourth, with Lewis Hamilton a full second back in fifth – one spot ahead of compatriot Lando Norris, who was sixth for McLaren. Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate George Russell finished eighth.
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“Thanks everyone for staying out there in this rain,” said Sainz. “Spaniards struggle with the rain, but you guys are used to it.
“I put together a lap, I did not think it was something special, but it was pole position and that came as a bit of a surprise.
“The pace has been there all weekend, but if I base myself on my practice pace, we should be in a good position to hold on to first.”
Verstappen, who was booed by the partisan British fans, said: “I got a bit hindered with my final lap, but to be on the front row is good for us and we have a good race car.
“It is not only about the first lap, but I am looking forward to tomorrow.”
Verstappen’s race here last year ended with a visit to hospital in Coventry after he suffered concussion following his dramatic opening-lap collision with Hamilton.
The championship leader, who made two mistakes in Q3, still looked on course to take pole only for Sainz to beat him to first position in his 150th F1 race.
Hamilton, in his revamped Mercedes machine, might have hoped for more in the changeable conditions, but the British driver will start behind both Ferraris and both Red Bulls at his home event.
The umbrellas emerged just 10 minutes before qualifying was due to start, and while the rain eased in Q1, it returned with a vengeance midway through Q2.
“Can’t see s***,” said Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas, who finished 12th. Nicholas Latifi took advantage of the inclement conditions to put his Williams in Q3. He will start 10th.
Aston Martin are in the midst of a rotten run, and both green machines slumped to another poor result.
Lance Stroll will line up 20th and last for Sunday’s race, with four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel two places ahead of him on the grid.
Stroll, the 23-year-old son of the team’s fashion billionaire father, finished seven tenths adrift of anybody else, and eight tenths behind team-mate Vettel.
“Oh no, not again,” said Vettel when told he had failed to progress to Q2 for the second time in as many races.”