A surprised Carlos Sainz splashed to his first Formula One pole position on Saturday with Red Bull’s championship leader Max Verstappen joining the Ferrari driver on the front row for the British Grand Prix.
The Spaniard, who will be starting his 150th race on Sunday at Silverstone, put in a last-gasp effort of one minute 40.983 seconds with Verstappen ending up 0.072 slower after looking set for pole.
“I didn’t expect that one,” said Sainz over the radio as he slowed down.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc qualified third through the rain and spray.
Seven-time world champion and record eight-time British Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton will start his home race in fifth place for Mercedes, with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez lining up fourth.
Sainz, 27, said he had struggled with the standing water on the racing line and feared spinning.
“In the end I put together a lap that I thought was nothing special but I just put it on the board and see how it is, and it was pole position, which came as a bit of a surprise.”
“I had no idea where I was going to qualify because the conditions were so changeable,”he said.