Formula One: Sainz gives Ferrari Italian GP hope after pipping Verstappen to pole

AFP , Saturday 2 Sep 2023

Carlos Sainz brought cheer to Ferrari's passionate army of home fans on Saturday after claiming pole position for the Italian Grand Prix.

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz of Spain, right, celebrates his pole position with second placed Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands after the qualifying session ahead of Sunday's Formula One Italian Grand Prix auto race, at the Monza racetrack, in Monza, Italy, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023. Photo: AP


Spaniard Sainz will start at the front of the grid for the first time this season after pipping by 0.013 seconds reigning world champion Max Verstappen who is hunting a record 10th straight GP win.

Charles Leclerc in the other Ferrari took third to start from the second row alongside the Mercedes of George Russell.

Sainz trails Verstappen by a whopping 237 points in the drivers' championship and is yet to claim a podium finish this season.

But he shone in Saturday's qualifying in front of loud home support after already showing his speed by topping the times in two practice sessions, and celebrated with delighted Ferrari fans after snatching pole in the final moments.

Dutchman Verstappen still has a great chance to break the record of nine straight GP wins he shares with four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel after winning a dramatic race on home soil in Zandvoort last weekend.

Verstappen has won 11 of the 13 races so far this year and leads Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez by 138 points in the standings.

Perez, who is the only other driver to win this season, finished 0.394sec back in fifth.

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