SILVERSTONE, England ( Associated Press) – Carlos Sainz was the fastest in the rain to qualify for the Formula One British Grand Prix on Saturday and took the top spot in Sunday’s race from the start. He beat defending F1 champion Max Verstappen by 0.72 seconds, who got some boon.
“Maybe some don’t like me, but that’s okay,” Verstappen said. “I don’t care”.
Sainz, along with Ferrari, posted the fastest time of 1 min 40.983 s at the end of the third qualifying session. It was the seventh pole position for Ferrari in 10 races so far this season, although it has been won on previous occasions by his teammate Charles Leclerc.
“My first pole,” Sainz said. “It’s always something special, and above all to do it in the rain at Silverstone. I kept calm throughout the season and I finally made the decision.
Sainz came close to securing his first career win in Canada when he came on Verstappen’s heels.
Leclerc would start in third place and Mexican Sergio “Checo” Perez would be second with Red Bull in fourth.
Seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton was fifth in a race in which he is a local hero. Mercedes has clearly made progress in solving its high-speed bounce problem. His teammate George Russell was eighth.
Speaking trackside after qualifying, the Dutchman heard the boon. Verstappen and Hamilton clashed here last year, with the Dutchman hitting a wall while the Englishman passed a penalty to win the race.
The incident eventually heated up their bitter rivalry in a title race won by Verstappen. At the hospital where he was kept under observation, Verstappen accused Hamilton of nonchalant conduct to celebrate his victory while he was being medically evacuated.
The days before this year’s race were dominated by statements from former champion Nelson Piquet, who used racist and homophobic terms to refer to Hamilton in an interview filmed last year after the Silverstone crash. This year only the interview garnered widespread attention.
Hamilton and other drivers condemned Piquet. Verstappen, a partner of Piquet’s daughter Kelly, said the Brazilian had used “very offensive” words, but added that he was “a very nice and calm man” and not racist at all.
Leclerc said his Ferrari was “competitive”, but a mistake prevented him from challenging for pole.
“I knew this was the lap where I had to define everything and I didn’t do it as a driver, so I didn’t deserve to be on pole,” he said.