A majestic Carlos Sainz sent the Tifosi into raptures at the Monza circuit, presenting Scuderia Ferrari with its 245th pole position, its 23rd at this track. Charles Leclerc will start right behind his team-mate tomorrow, in third place on the grid, when the race gets underway at 15 local time.
A matter of thousandths. Qualifying ran to the Alternative Tyre Allocation format, whereby drivers had to use only Hard tyres in Q1, Mediums in Q2 and Softs in Q3. Carlos and Charles got off on the right foot, getting through to Q2 using just a single set of Hard tyres, thus saving another set for the race and then comfortably made it to the final phase, always at the top of the time sheets, confirming the good form shown in free practice. For Q3, they both had two sets of new Soft tyres at their disposal and on their first attempt they set the two fastest times of 1’20”532 and 1’20”564. With the second set, they went back out on track with two minutes remaining. Leclerc was first out, improving to 1’20”361. The crowd was silenced momentarily as Max Verstappen went quickest in 1’20”307. But then the noise erupted once more a few seconds later when Carlos got his Ferrari past the chequered flag in 1’20”294, to secure his fourth Formula 1 career pole.
An open race. It looks like being an open race tomorrow with the team currently dominating the season having a particularly efficient car and it will not be easy for Ferrari to maintain that pole position advantage. However, Carlos and Charles are ready to fight from the first to last lap to make life tough for all its rivals. A one-stop strategy seems most likely and everything is in place for the team to offer its fans a great result.
Carlos Sainz – P1
‘What a Saturday! It’s so special to get pole position here, in front of all the tifosi. I had a very good feeling from the car already on Friday and today we confirmed our pace. Q3 was always on the limit and we all took big risks in the fight for this pole. When I finally crossed the line and I heard the Tifosi screaming like crazy and jumping on the grandstands I knew we had it! The weekend is not over yet, we want more, and for that we need to stay focused and prepare well for tomorrow. It’s going to be a challenging race but we’ll give it everything to fight for the win and give the tifosi around the world something to keep cheering us on!
Max Verstappen – P2
“It was very close all the way through quali and Ferrari have been quick throughout the whole weekend. From our side we did everything we could to be as competitive as possible and I was happy with the lap in Q3, so nothing really to complain about. It was just not enough for pole but we know we have a good race car. It is all about the race pace and if we have better race pace, like normal, we will try to put the pressure on them. I am happy with how we set up the car for the race and hopefully that will pay off on Sunday. I know the win is something that could happen. If it’s 10 in a row that would be amazing, but we have to execute the race in the best possible way to achieve that.”
Charles Leclerc – P3
‘Q3 was really on the limit and I’m happy with my two laps, considering where we started from this weekend. The direction we went in with the set-up of my car yesterday wasn’t the right one, although at first I thought it was. So we had to adapt and make some changes for FP3, a session that still felt a bit inconsistent. But overall, our performance was good today and the gaps are really small between all of us. Let’s see what we can do tomorrow.’
George Russell – P4
‘You need to be dynamic in this new qualifying format as you jump down the tyre compounds, and I think we did a good job managing it today. The engineers did a great job overnight and we hit the ground running this morning, I felt more comfortable in the car. With the softer tyre compounds Pirelli have brought here, I think there’s the option to tune the set-up more aggressively for qualifying or favouring the race pace a little bit more. We’ve done the latter, so I hope it pays off tomorrow. There’s always lots of talk about a tow here, but it’s always a double-edge sword; I chose clean air on each run and it worked well today. Overall, though, this was a session that just shows how you need to get every detail right in F1: in Q1, I didn’t get the tyre in the right window and was P13; then in Q3, we ended up P4. Now it’s full focus on the race and I hope we can challenge for the podium.’
Sergio Perez – P5
“Today wasn’t a great day. Adding a new engine and missing a large part of FP3 today was not ideal as it meant that we didn’t get to run the soft tyres before going into qualifying, so we were less prepared for Q3. Overall, I don’t think we maximised our performance and showed what we could do today. The Team, however, did a tremendous job turning the car around in time for qualifying. We had a good Friday and great race pace yesterday but today we just didn’t capitalise on our performance. Tomorrow I am optimistic that we can still show our strong pace and we will do our very best to come through the field.”
Frédéric Vasseur, Ferrari Team Principal
‘We dedicate this pole position to our many Tifosi here at the track. As expected, qualifying was very closely contested and Carlos did a simply perfect job. He has been quick since the first free practice session and he fully deserves this. Charles was only six hundredths slower, but that was enough to put him behind Max. This is the best team qualifying result of the season, which will allow us to have a two-pronged strategy tomorrow.
‘Over a flying lap, we knew we were competitive, but from what we saw on Friday, our race pace isn’t bad either. We will take a look at where we are after the opening lap and then see what we can do. We have worked hard and it’s great for the team at ithe track and for those working back in Maranello to see that we have made another step forward and that the effort everyone has put in is paying off. Tomorrow we will give it our best shot.’