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British GP: Carlos Sainz snatches first F1 pole from Max Verstappen in wild wet Silverstone qualifying

Carlos Sainz 0.072s faster than Max Verstappen to claim first career pole; Verstappen had dominated qualifying but was hindered by Charles Leclerc spin on last lap; Lewis Hamilton only fifth for Mercedes; Watch British Grand Prix live on Sky Sports F1 on Sunday at 3pm

Last Updated: 02/07/22 9:45pm

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Carlos Sainz secured his first-ever pole position in Formula One at the British Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz secured his first-ever pole position in Formula One at the British Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz claimed his first Formula 1 pole position after snatching the fastest time off Max Verstappen in a thrilling wet British GP qualifying.

With heavy rain falling at Silverstone, Verstappen had dominated the shootout and appeared to have Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton as his closest challengers – before Sainz found pace with his all-important last lap.

“No way! I didn’t expect that one!” said Sainz, who was 0.072s faster than Verstappen to seal his first pole on his 151st attempt.

Sainz also overhauled his Ferrari team-mate, with Leclerc spinning on his final attempt and finishing three-tenths off in third, ahead of Sergio Perez.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen ruins his flying lap with a spin but somehow keeps his car on track in Q3 for the British Grand Prix.

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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen ruins his flying lap with a spin but somehow keeps his car on track in Q3 for the British Grand Prix.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen ruins his flying lap with a spin but somehow keeps his car on track in Q3 for the British Grand Prix.

Verstappen, who also spun earlier in Q3, said he was hindered by the yellow flags caused by Leclerc on his crucial lap.

Mercedes’ pace in practice and Q2 – when Hamilton was just behind Verstappen – failed to convert to Q3 as Hamilton was the lead Silver Arrow in fifth, a second off the pace.

George Russell was only eighth.

Lando Norris and Fernando Alonso split the Mercedes, while Nicholas Latifi provided the big surprise of qualifying by getting his Williams all the way through to Q3 in the mixed conditions.

British GP Qualifying, Top 10
1) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
2) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
3) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
4) Sergio Perez, Red Bull
5) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
6) Lando Norris, McLaren
7) Fernando Alonso, Alpine
8) George Russell, Mercedes
9) Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo
10) Nicholas Latifi, Williams

How did Sainz surprise Verstappen for maiden pole?

Verstappen came into qualifying as the big favourite following his exploits in the dry and – while a torrential downpour just before Q1 threatened to mix up the grid – the world champion was still dominant in the wet.

Verstappen topped a Q1 session that saw both Aston Martin and Haas cars exit early, and Q2 ahead of Hamilton.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says that they will take the fight to the Ferraris tomorrow after finishing P2 and P4 in qualifying for the British Grand Prix.

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says that they will take the fight to the Ferraris tomorrow after finishing P2 and P4 in qualifying for the British Grand Prix.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says that they will take the fight to the Ferraris tomorrow after finishing P2 and P4 in qualifying for the British Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon were the surprise exits from that segment, with heavier rain meaning improvements were impossible for those who didn’t get a lap in early.

Verstappen made his first mistake of qualifying with a 360 pirouette on his first lap of Q3, and it was a relentless final shootout with drivers staying out for flying lap after flying lap as the rain stopped.

The timesheets were constantly changing but Verstappen was still the driver to beat, even after being knocked off top spot by Leclerc in the closing stages.

He posted a purple opening sector on his last lap, before a spin – inconveniently from his main title rival – caused Verstappen to lose half a second in the middle sector.

Ride onboard with Carlos Sainz as the Ferrari driver claimed his maiden pole in Britain.

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Ride onboard with Carlos Sainz as the Ferrari driver claimed his maiden pole in Britain.

Ride onboard with Carlos Sainz as the Ferrari driver claimed his maiden pole in Britain.

That opened the door, and Sainz duly took the ultimate opportunity. The Spaniard had been off the pace through the shootout – only fourth in Q2 – finding unexpected speed when it mattered most. Much to his surprise.

“I felt terrible out there!” he said on the team radio. “How did I do P1?”

After his first career pole, Sainz now is in the best position to claim his first career win in Sunday’s race. Although he will certainly have the title leader, and a determined team-mate, snapping at his heels.

What happened to Mercedes, Hamilton?

Mercedes came into qualifying with aspirations challenging further towards the front following their car upgrades, and those high hopes were boosted further by Hamilton challenging Verstappen in Q2.

But neither Hamilton team-mate George Russell could delight the home crowd with competitive pace at the end of Q3.

Hamilton and Mercedes misjudged the closing stages when opting for a cool-down lap before more rain struck, while Russell made a mistake in the first sector.

Despite only qualifying fifth for his home race, Lewis Hamilton is pleased that his Mercedes seems to be showing progress in closing the gap on Ferrari and Red Bull.

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Despite only qualifying fifth for his home race, Lewis Hamilton is pleased that his Mercedes seems to be showing progress in closing the gap on Ferrari and Red Bull.

Despite only qualifying fifth for his home race, Lewis Hamilton is pleased that his Mercedes seems to be showing progress in closing the gap on Ferrari and Red Bull.

“I’m a little bit gutted really,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1. “Obviously we have such a great crowd here and I was pushing so hard to get on the front row and fight for pole position today.

“I was gunning for second at least and so to end fifth, it makes tomorrow tough.”

Russell said a mistake on his final lap was the reason for him finishing eighth.

Qualifying was therefore ultimately a major dent in Mercedes’ hopes of a first win of the season, and Hamilton’s of a record-breaking ninth Silverstone win.

British GP Qualifying timesheet

Driver Team Time
1) Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:40.983
2) Max Verstappen Red Bull +0.072
3) Charles Leclerc Ferrari +0.315
4) Sergio Perez Red Bull +0.633
5) Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +1.012
6) Lando Norris McLaren +1.101
7) Fernando Alonso Alpine +1.133
8) George Russell Mercedes +1.178
9) Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo +1.736
10) Nicholas Latifi Williams +22.112
Out in Q2
11) Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 1:43.702
12) Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 1:44.232
13) Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1:44.311
14) Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 1:44.355
15) Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:45.190
Out in Q1
16) Alexander Albon Williams 1:42.078
17) Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:42.159
18) Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1:42.666
19) Mick Schumacher Haas 1;42.708
20) Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:43.430

F1 2022 heads to Silverstone this weekend for the big event of the motorsport summer. Join Sky Sports F1 for extensive coverage across the British GP weekend – the race starts at 3pm on Sunday, July 3.

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