Since making his Formula 1 debut in 2015, Carlos Sainz has been chasing No. 1's to no avail.
Well, he’s still chasing his first career F1 victory—he does have 11 podiums—but on Saturday, the Ferrari driver finally grabbed his first pole position at the 151st attempt. The pole came at a soggy Silverstone circuit.
Only Sergio Perez, who took pole on his 216th try, had entered more F1 races before finally topping qualifying earlier this year at Saudi Arabia.
The typical British summer was in full effect at Silverstone, as rain fell 10 minutes before qualifying and continued throughout the three-stage session, with air temperature a paltry 57 degrees. Sainz beat Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc to wind up atop the time sheets, and Sainz was surprised at the outcome.
“I was struggling a lot with the standing water in the racing line and it was very easy to get snaps and lose the laps,” said Sainz. “I put together a lap that I thought was nothing special, put it on the board and see how it is, but it was pole position, definitely a bit of a surprise.”
Sainz was undoubtedly assisted by what went on further behind on the track.
Leclerc spun through Chapel curve on his final push lap, squandering his prospects, while the resultant local yellow flags prompted Verstappen to back off. That meant neither were able to improve during the optimum track conditions in the last few moments of the session.
Three Brits wound up in the top 10, with Lewis Hamilton fifth, Lando Norris sixth and George Russell eighth. Are there any hopes of a victory on home turf?
“I don't know if we can challenge for a win,” said Hamilton. “The Red Bulls are so quick. They are pulling away on the straights at the moment at high speed where we are bouncing. I am hoping we are a little bit closer than the last race. If we are and I can somehow hold on to them maybe somehow I can progress.”
Hamilton vowed that “I will be aggressive tomorrow.”
Hamilton also criticized segments of the crowd who booed Verstappen post-session.
“I think we’re better than that,” he said. “I would say we don’t need to do the booing. We have such great fans, our sporting fans feel emotions up and down, but I definitely don’t agree with booing. I don’t think we need to do that. I think we should be here pushing everybody. It doesn’t make any difference when you boo someone, they’ve already made the mistake, or whatever it is. But I really do appreciate the support I have here. Maybe some of them are still feeling the pain from last year, still.”
Verstappen insisted it was water off a duck’s back.
“If they want to boo, they do that, for me it’s not going to change anything,” he said. “I’m always happy to be here, it’s a great track, it's a great atmosphere in general - maybe some of them don’t like me, that’s fine, they all have their own opinions. I don’t care.”
Meanwhile there was some cheers down at Williams, where Nicholas Latifi executed Q1 and Q2 brilliantly in the changeable conditions to make it through to Q3 for the first time in his career, giving Williams its first top 10 grid spot of 2022.
F1 British Grand Prix Qualifying
Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari
Max Verstappen, Red Bull
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
Sergio Perez, Red Bull
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
Lando Norris, McLaren
Fernando Alonso, Alpine
George Russell, Mercedes
Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo
Nicholas Latifi, Williams
Piere Gasly, AlphaTauri
Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo
Yuki Tsundoa, AlphaTauri
Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren
Esteban Ocon, Alpine
Alex Albon, Williams
Kevin Magnussen, Haas
Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin
Mick Schumacher, Haas
Lance Stroll, Aston Martin