British GP: Sainz beats Verstappen to secure first F1 pole

Carlos Sainz beat Max Verstappen to claim a maiden Formula 1 pole as the Ferrari driver topped a wet qualifying at the 2022 British Grand Prix, with Charles Leclerc third.

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Verstappen had led the way through Q1 and Q2 and appeared to be on course to complete a clean sweep as he also topped the times ahead of the final runs in the final segment.

Indeed, Verstappen set the fastest first sector of Q3 on his last effort, but lost time around the rest of the lap and could not improve his personal best.

He briefly had to lift going through Becketts and Chapel due to a yellow flag marker board being activated due to Leclerc having an incident ahead, which cost him all of the gains he made in sector one and more.

That meant he could not get back ahead of Sainz, who was shocked to take pole with a 1m40.983s that he said "felt terrible", despite setting the quickest Q3 times in the second and third sectors.

Leclerc wound up third as he spun exiting Chapel and heading onto the Hanger straight as he hit a patch of standing water on his final Q3 lap, after he had looked to be Verstappen’s closest challenger for pole before Sainz surprised everyone – including himself, as he asked his engineer “how did I do P1?!” after crossing the line – to take the top spot.

Sergio Perez took fourth in the other Red Bull, ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris, both of whom had registered high placings through the early segments of qualifying, which was wet throughout after rain doused the Silverstone track in the 15 minutes ahead of the 3pm local start time.

Then came Fernando Alonso and George Russell, with Zhou Guanyu making it through to Q3 for the second race in a row and ending up ninth for Alfa Romeo.

Nicholas Latifi was delighted to make it through to Q3 for the first time, but he did not set a representative time in the final segment and so finished 10th and last of the shootout runners.

Q2 began with the rain starting to fall harder again after it had stopped by the end of Q1, which put a premium on fast, early banker efforts.

This nearly caught out Sainz as he languished in the drop zone after the initial laps in the middle segment, but the Spaniard was able to jump up the order at the halfway point, after which the rain falling ever harder meant no drivers were able to improve and the elimination order was set.

Pierre Gasly was the highest placed driver to be knocked out in 11th for AlphaTauri, followed by Alfa Romeo's Valtteri Bottas – and early spinner in Q1 at Club – and Yuki Tsunoda.

Daniel Ricciardo wound up down in 14th in the other McLaren, followed by Alpine driver Esteban Ocon.

In Q1, the opening segment began with rain falling steadily, but the pack nevertheless headed out on the intermediates, which was the compound used throughout qualifying and the drivers were generally fuelled to circulate throughout all three segments.

All five of the drivers knocked out at the end of Q1 set their quickest times right at the end in the best of the conditions of the whole qualifying session, but could not improve enough to escape, with Alex Albon finishing just 16th in the updated Williams and frustrated at being ordered to complete cool down laps between flying efforts.

Then came Kevin Magnussen and Sebastian Vettel, who were followed in unison by their respective Haas and Aston Martin teammates –Mick Schumacher and Lance Stroll, who brought up the rear of the field.

Vettel's exit in 18th marks the four-time world champion's first ever Q1 elimination at Silverstone.

Cla Driver Chassis Engine Time Gap
1 Spain Carlos Sainz Ferrari Ferrari 1'40.983  
2 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull Red Bull 1'41.055 0.072
3 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari Ferrari 1'41.298 0.315
4 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull Red Bull 1'41.616 0.633
5 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Mercedes 1'41.995 1.012
6 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes 1'42.084 1.101
7 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault 1'42.116 1.133
8 United Kingdom George Russell Mercedes Mercedes 1'42.161 1.178
9 China Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo Ferrari 1'42.719 1.736
10 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes 2'03.095 22.112
11 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Red Bull 1'43.702 2.719
12 Finland Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari 1'44.232 3.249
13 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Red Bull 1'44.311 3.328
14 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes 1'44.355 3.372
15 France Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault 1'45.190 4.207
16 Thailand Alex Albon Williams Mercedes 1'42.078 1.095
17 Denmark Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1'42.159 1.176
18 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes 1'42.666 1.683
19 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari 1'42.708 1.725
20 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes 1'43.430 2.447
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