Carlos Sainz reflects on “intense qualifying” as he snatches a home F1 pole position for Ferrari

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Carlos Sainz describes the energy of the Tifosi as he reflects on his pole position lap in Monza. Having beaten championship leader Verstappen by just 0.013 to put Ferrari on the top spot on home soil, he remains cautiously optimistic ahead of tomorrow’s Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz claims pole position for the 2023 Italian Grand Prix
Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari

Carlos Sainz put together an incredible final Q3 lap to pip Max Verstappen and the dominant RB19 to a home pole position for Ferrari in front of the adoring Tifosi. With his first pole position of the 2023 season secured, the Spaniard set his sights on a home victory for Ferrari tomorrow.

“Everywhere we go it is just noise, encouragement, support…”

Reflecting on his final lap, Sainz admits the session was intense, as evident in the minute gaps which separated the top 3. He also applauded the passion of the Tifosi which lined the circuit to see Ferrari claim pole on home soil.

“Wow, honestly. It was such an intense Qualifying especially in Q3. All three went for it. We were very on the limit and on that last lap I knew I had some lap time to come in Ascari and Parabolica and I went for it. It worked well and I really pushed hard in that last lap.

“Goosebumps since I crossed the finish line the whole lap, and watching the crowd. Everywhere we go it is just noise, encouragement, support – the best feeling you can have as a driver.”

“I put together one of my best laps…”

Elaborating on the experience of as a whole, Sainz continued to praise the fans, citing their support as a defining factor in energising him to put together what he deems one of his best laps in order to claim pole.

“It’s difficult to put into words, to describe the feeling,” Sainz admitted. “It’s just amazing, the whole weekend since we arrived here on Wednesday — the support and the feeling with the crowd, the energy they put into us, it’s incredible. I had my birthday yesterday, so that gave me a good feeling and good vibes.

“I was very comfortable with the car and I put together one of my best laps in Q3 to set pole. Tight with these two (Verstappen and Leclerc), like it used to be last year, I enjoyed it a lot, that lap.”

“It’s trickier and not the same picture as qualifying.”

While Sainz admits Red Bull will likely have the faster car over a race distance, he remains confident Ferrari are motivated enough to challenge their otherwise dominant rivals. Breaking down his game plan for the Grand Prix, Sainz explains he intends to hold his position off the line and then adapt to whatever Verstappen can throw at him in order to claim the top step of the podium.

“We’ve got the motivation and the energy to do it,” he said.“The car has been very good all weekend, especially over one lap. What we have seen from the long runs, I’m not going to lie — it’s trickier and not the same picture as qualifying.

“Red Bull, as soon as you put five or six laps on the tyre and everything starts to degrade a bit, that’s where their strength is, and the race pace we have seen all year. But hopefully I can get a better start and then make Max’s and Checo’s [Perez] and Charles’ life as difficult as possible.

“We are willing to work through it as a team and give it our best shot. It’s a good opportunity tomorrow; realistically the Red Bull should be quicker, but we are just going to try to make their life as complicated as possible and try to take the win.”

“I’m just going to try and go into tomorrow with the mindset to win…”

The Spaniard remained steadfast in his belief in the Ferrari team despite admitting Red Bull will undoubtedly make their lives difficult with their superior package. Based on his comments, Sainz clearly has every intention to once again delight the home crowd tomorrow and stand on the top step of the Monza podium.

“I think it can happen — nothing is impossible tomorrow, especially starting from P1. At the start I am going to do everything I can to stay ahead of Max and I think that looking back at this year, 100 percent of races they have been quicker, and clearly quicker, so that makes me feel like it is not going to be easy at all.

“They are going to try to find a way past one way or another, but if something could happen we would have a very good day tomorrow and get the win. So I’m just going to try and go into tomorrow with the mindset to win the race and then adapt to the circumstances and race pace of Verstappen.”