With all eyes on the championship contenders Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, and intrigue surrounding the home heroes of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, Carlos Sainz snuck in out of nowhere to take his maiden pole position at the British Grand Prix on Saturday.
In his 151st race, Ferrari man Sainz became the 104th man to take pole for an F1 race with a last ditch lap in drying conditions. Q1 and Q2 took place in completely wet conditions, but the track became quicker rapidly at the end of Q3, allowing Sainz to sneak in for pole.
Speaking immediately after his stunning lap, Sainz said that the lap had not felt particularly quick as he put it together, and he also said that he was not expecting pole position entering in to qualifying.
Carlos Sainz surprised by P1 at British GP qualifying
As he crossed the line to take pole, the surprise in Carlos Sainz's voice was evident over the team radio. He said: "No way! Holy **** I didn't expect that one! That felt terrible out there! How did I do P1?!"
Carlos Sainz grabs his first pole of his career! 👏 pic.twitter.com/8BLT6TNfVj
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) July 2, 2022
Sainz has struggled to keep pace with his teammate Charles Leclerc this season, but came close to taking his first race win last time out in Montreal.
He spoke in detail to F1 immediately after qualifying, and explained why he was so surprised with the qualifying result:
Thanks [to the crowd] for staying out there with this rain. We struggled a bit with it but you guys are used to it!
It was a good lap but I was struggling a lot with the standing water. There was some standing water on the racing line and it was very easy to get snaps and lose the lap. It's also more difficult to get temperature into the intermediate tyres with these conditions.
In the end I put together a lap that I didn't think was anything special, but I just put it on the board and see how it is. It was pole position, which came as a bit of a surprise!
The pace has been there all weekend, except for FP3 when we had some issues that we think we've corrected for quali. If I base myself on my FP2 pace then we should be in a good position to try and hold on to it.
I'm sure Max and Charles will put a lot of pressure but I will try my best, of course.
Sainz will line up alongside championship leader Max Verstappen in P2, with Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez behind on the second row. Elsewhere, Mercedes were ultimately disappointed to end up in P5 and P8, after seeing improvements in their car performance throughout the weekend.
Tomorrow's race is set to take place in dry conditions, and gives Carlos Sainz a fantastic chance to take an unexpected first ever race win.