Today's post-qualifying press conference with Carlos Sainz, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc.
Grid Interviews - Conducted by Billy Monger
Carlos Sainz, your 150th Grand Prix this weekend here at Silverstone. Listen to that cheer! Your first ever pole position, sum that lap up for us?
Carlos Sainz: Thank you very much. Well, first of all, thank you to the whole crowd for cheering. Thanks everyone for staying out there with this rain. Spaniards, we struggle a bit more with this rain but you can tell that you guys are used to it, so thanks for being there. And yeah, it was a good lap, but I was struggling a lot with the standing water. On the intermediate there was a lot more standing water on the racing line and it was very easy to get snaps and lose the lap. Also it was more difficult to get temperature into these intermediates with this condition. In the end I put together a lap that I didn't thought... it was nothing special but I just put it on the board and see how it how it is and it was pole position which came as a bit of a surprise.
Definitely special enough for pole position here at Silverstone today. Obviously this season hasn't always gone your way and you've run into a few issues, but after Canada which looked a lot more positive in the race - you got the fastest and you ran Max a close way all the way to the line - what can you do tomorrow? How are things looking for the race? Can you convert this into your first ever victory in Formula 1?
CS: I think so, yeah. The pace has been there all weekend, except for FP3 where we had some issues that we think we have corrected them for Quali, but 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.
Well hopefully Carlos, tomorrow goes well for you. Good luck for the race tomorrow. So, Max Verstappen, obviously today in qualifying there, second place, Carlos just pipped you towards the end. Sum up the qualifying session for us. It looked really tricky out there for the drivers.
Max Verstappen: Yeah, it was quite a tricky Qualifying you know, it was raining drying, so you had to be at the track at the right time. But I think overall the car was working really well you know. In Q3 it's always a bit of a lottery sometimes, you know, when you have to put the fastest lap in. But I got a bit hindered in my final lap with the yellow flag unfortunately. But I think still to be on the front row it's very good for us and we have a good race car I think in the dry and in the wet.
When it comes to the recent form, Red Bull have been on a bit of a roll between you and Sergio winning the last six races. Obviously tomorrow is where the points count so what are your plans go into the first couple of quarters? How aggressive do you plan to be with trying to get the move down on Carlos if you can?
MV: Well, I mean it's not only about the first lap it's all about the race. I think, like I said, we have a good race car. It's all about the tyre management as well. So yeah, looking forward to tomorrow.
Charles Leclerc, obviously qualifying has just happened, it looked tricky out there, P3 for you. Qualifying has normally been your strong suit, so are you slightly disappointed that today you didn't manage to get the top step.
Charles Leclerc: Yeah, I am, but happy for Carlos. He did a great job today. Yeah, I spun in that last lap. I knew it was the lap where I had to put everything together and I didn't as a driver, so I didn't deserve to be on pole. But P3 is still a good position to start in for tomorrow's race and hopefully putting everything together we can come back.
Last year in the race, you narrowly lost out on the race victory to Lewis Hamilton who is a home favourite here at Silverstone but looking to tomorrow's race starting from P3, what's your plan? You've obviously got a little bit of ground to make up in the championship after a tough couple of races for yourself. So how do you plan on bouncing back and making those points up tomorrow?
CL: Well, I think the pace is there, so if we have a clean race then everything should go well. A good start and then obviously tyre management will be a thing too. I think the strategy is a bit mixed between one and two stops. So it will be interesting to see whoever is going for the one stop or the two stops. But hopefully we'll make the right choice and we can come back to where we want to be.
Are you confident with the strategy and the tyre degradation? That, again, earlier in the season was something that troubled you guys.
CL: I don't think it was a problem in the last few races. Obviously we couldn't show it because we've had some issues but hopefully tomorrow is the day.
Congratulations to the top three qualifiers for the 2022 FIA Formula 1 British Grand Prix. In third place Charles Leclerc. In second place, Max Verstappen. And taking his first pole position in Formula 1 in his 150th Grand Prix, our pole-sitter, Carlos Sainz. Carlos, very well done. Now you've had a few minutes to reflect on what you've done today, what's the overriding emotion?
CS: Obviously, emotional first pole position. It's always special and especially to do it in in Silverstone in the wet, I don't know, it just feels very good. It wasn't easy out there. It was very, very tricky conditions, especially in Q3 I found it particularly tough to put the lap together on the intermediate. A lot of standing water on the racing line and difficult to get the tyres up to temperature. I kept it cool through the session and then towards the end, I decided to push for a couple of laps and put a decent lap on the board. That didn't feel amazing, but it turned out to be pole position, so good.
How easy is it to read a session like that?
CS: It's tricky, because there's not one single lap where the track conditions are the same as the previous lap. Every lap that you open, it's a bit of a new adventure, especially with intermediate tyres, raining, you never know how much standing water you're going to find, you never know how easy or how difficult it's going to put the tyre into temperature. Personally, I particularly struggled with the with the rears, just getting them to give me the traction that I wanted. But towards the end, those last two laps, they started to switch on and I managed to put a couple of laps that were decent, but it was a big challenge.
Carlos, let's look ahead tomorrow. Fifty-two laps to do. How much confidence do you have going into the race? And what are your biggest concerns?
CS: Confidence is high. If I look back to FP2 the pace was there and I was feeling at home with a car and I'm pushing well on the tyres. I don't know, if the feeling is like in FP2 then I'm confident that I can hold on to a lead and try to do my own race, pushing from the beginning. If the balance and the car is like FP3 then I think it could be a bit more tricky, but we've changed a few things since FP3, because we found ourselves with some issues that we didn't expect and it looked like in Quali we improved a bit, so hopefully the car is back like it was in FP2 and I can do my own race.
Max, coming to you, perhaps we just pick up where Carlos left off. Can we just talk about the race tomorrow? How much confidence you have in yourself and particularly your car?
MV: Yeah, I think it's going to be good. The car was very nice in FP3, better balanced than FP2 and that's, of course, important that you find that right balance. Tomorrow, it's a bit of a question mark. The track will probably be quite green, because of the rain. How the tyres are going to last, but I have good confidence that our cars should be quick.
And Max, you've done so much racing against the guy on your left, right now. How much are you looking forward to lining up on the front row of the grid with him?
MV: It's gonna be good! I am happy for Carlos, of course, to take his first pole position and I think already the whole year we've been battling. And it's so tight all the time, every single qualifying or in the race, like last time, so I hope we can all have a fun race.
Just talking about your qualifying session now, it was the middle sector that seemed to cost you on that final lap Can you just talk us through it?
MV: I had a yellow flag.
And what about the pace of the car in Q3 - because it looked pretty... well, you were getting very aggressive with the throttle on that first lap certainly.
MV: I was warming the tyres. That's why I did the 360° as well. To put a bit more heat in them!
About the session as a whole then. Q1, Q2, you seemed all over it. Just Q3...
MV: Q3 was fine. Just my final lap, I had the yellow flags, I lifted, not to have any issues and then you end up just being behind in qualifying but overall the car was good. So, it doesn't matter. Of course, a shame to miss a pole position but I also know that tomorrow are the points and that's what I like on a Sunday, to go racing, and especially when you have a good feeling with the car.
Charles, coming to you now. Many congratulations as well. Just how competitive was your car today and how comfortable did you feel in those conditions?
CL: I actually felt very good. Unfortunately, I did the mistake in that last lap in Q3, where I knew it was the lap I had to put together and I just didn't do a good enough job. I lost it in Turn 14, I think it was. There was quite a lot of standing water and lost it there. But apart from that, I think the car was quite competitive in those conditions, which is important to see because obviously, I keep repeating it every time we drive in those conditions this year, but the last few years, weren't easy in those conditions. So, it's good to see that we found a bit of a consistency in rainy conditions.
We haven't had that much dry running so far this weekend. Are you happy with your car in dry conditions?
CL: Much happier this morning, compared to yesterday. Yesterday, it was very, very difficult to put a lap together. But this morning, I felt quite confident with the car. So yeah, I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow.
Check out our Saturday gallery from Silverstone here.