Carlos Sainz Jr, Ferrari, Monza, 2023

Sainz says Monza pole run was “one of my best laps”

2023 Italian Grand Prix

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Carlos Sainz Jnr says he produced one of his best ever laps to take pole position for Ferrari in the Italian Grand Prix.

He was cheered by the Italian crowd as he pipped by Max Verstappen by one hundredth of a second to put Ferrari at the front of the field for the second year in a row at this race.

“It’s difficult to put into words, to describe the feeling,” said Sainz. “It’s just amazing, the whole weekend really, since we arrived here on Wednesday the support and the feeling with the crowd and the energy they put into us. It’s incredible.

“I had my birthday yesterday also so I enjoyed that and I’m pretty sure it gave me also a good feeling, good vibes and good energy into today. I’ve been feeling very comfortable with the car and I put together one of my best laps in Q3 run two to [take] pole.”

Ferrari’s performance has varied significantly from race to race this year. Sainz, who headed two practice sessions before qualifying, said his car felt much better to drive than it had in the previous round at Zandvoort.

“Our efficiency, like we’ve seen in some tracks this year, is pretty good on the car,” he said. “Honestly, since we put it on track in FP1, it just felt completely different to what it did in Zandvoort.

“It’s what it is. It’s what we are getting this year – we’re getting some very good weekends and some other very tough ones. We just need to make sure in the good ones we try to maximise like we did today and in the tough ones, we learn how to suffer and get the best out of it.

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“But, honestly, the car today, I cannot fault it. It was a really, really good balance. It gave me a lot of confidence through Ascari and Parabolica and every sector where I could make the difference when it counted, taking a bit more risks.”

The extra confidence Sainz had in his car made the qualifying session more enjoyable for him. “I think it’s typical here in Monza you have such a light feeling with a car that you never really are willing, in practice, to take the car to the absolute limit until really Q3 when it counts,” he explained.

“I’ve had a few good laps here in the past in Q3. I remember my McLaren days and even last year in Ferrari also I had a really good run around Ascari and Parabolica.

“When you go and remove a bit that fear and you go to take the ultimate risk and today it worked again. You just go into that corner that is an incredibly fast corner where the car feels incredibly light and you just hope it grips. And it did, like it’s been doing all weekend, that has been giving me that extra confidence and extra feeling to push through there. I had a very good run through there and I could take pole by hundredths.”

Sainz said he expected an entertaining end to the session after he, Leclerc and Verstappen completed their first runs within a tenth of a second of each other. “I knew it was going to be super, super tight, and all about the details and risks going into the second run, and it was really good fun.”

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2023 Italian Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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2 comments on “Sainz says Monza pole run was “one of my best laps””

  1. Well deserved, however I’m not sure of their race pace, expecting Max to be in the lead witihin 4 laps if not sooner.

  2. Good lap but one more turn and you’d be second. Fortunately there are few turns in Monza

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