The Tifosi cheer. Carlos Sainz races to pole at Ferrari’s home game in Monza. Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen is just beaten. What is the balance of power for the Grand Prix?
After his magic lap in front of the enthusiastic Tifosi, Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz got goosebumps. In a heart-stopping finale, the Spaniard raced ahead of world champion Max Verstappen in the Red Bull to pole position in the Scuderia’s Formula 1 home game.
“I’ve had goosebumps since I crossed the finish line, got out of the car and saw this crowd. It’s unbelievable. It’s the best feeling you can have as a driver,” said the overjoyed Sainz after his first pole in this season season and the fourth of his career.
Cheered on by Italian fans, Charles Leclerc finished third in the second Ferrari. “My feeling can only be great with these Tifosi here, but I’m a bit disappointed, I would have liked to have gotten pole, but the fact that Carlos is on one is great for Ferrari, he did a great job,” Leclerc praised his teammates .
On the last lap of the hunt for a starting position on the high-speed circuit north of Milan, Leclerc first set the fastest lap, then Verstappen countered with the top time before Sainz hit back in 1:20.294 minutes. “It was such an intense qualification, all three of us wanted it, all three of us were on the limit,” said Sainz about the thriller one day after his 29th birthday.
Hulkenberg starts from 13th place
In the defeated Haas, Nico Hülkenberg still managed to finish 13th. “I think that’s a realistic picture of where we are,” said the Rhinelander. “We have no updates, it is clear that it is difficult.”
Ferrari team boss Frederic Vasseur was happy after the high amid an otherwise disappointing season. “It’s a great feeling to get pole,” said the Frenchman, whose team is only fourth in the constructors’ championship. “But we have to think about the race, that’s the most important thing and not qualifying. But I take that as a milestone for the team and a step forward.”
Verstappen just 0.013 seconds back
After the thrilling qualification, Verstappen was just 0.013 seconds behind, Leclerc just 0.067 seconds. But can Sainz on Sunday (3 p.m. / Sky) also break the dominance of industry leader Red Bull, who has won all races this season? “We have the motivation and energy to do it,” said Sainz.
Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko took it easy that Verstappen did not take pole this time. “It was tight, as we expected,” said the Austrian and only spoke of a “touch of difference” in qualifying. “We geared our setup more towards the race. I do think that we will be stronger in the race.”
Last season, Leclerc raced to the Monza pole, but Verstappen won the race. “We’ve made some improvements, so I’m happy about second place,” said Verstappen. “We will try to win the race.”
And that would be a historic achievement. With the tenth Grand Prix success in a row, Verstappen would be the sole record holder ahead of Sebastian Vettel. “I would like to win,” admitted Verstappen and said moderately euphorically: “If I get my tenth win in a row, that would be nice.”
Verstappen is already leading the World Championship standings by a huge margin. The Dutchman is 138 points ahead of his teammate Sergio Perez. The third world title is only a matter of time.
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