Carlos Sainz Jr. saw George Russell deny him a second pole position of the season in the dying moment of Qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Saturday, and the Spaniard admitted he could have done better when it mattered on his final push lap.
The Scuderia Ferrari driver felt he left time on the table and paid the price as Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team’s Russell put together a great lap to take top spot by 0.044 seconds.
Despite losing out on pole, Sainz feels Ferrari have a strong chance of a big result on Sunday at the Hungaroring, with the pace of his F1-75 appearing fast throughout the weekend, and this coupled with the fact the two Oracle Red Bull Racing drivers will start tenth and eleventh.
“I’m not very happy with the final result as I feel I could have done a better lap on the final attempt,” said Sainz. “However, I prefer to focus on the positives: we are in a good position for tomorrow, I’ve been comfortable in the car all weekend and we keep making steps in the right direction.
“I’m confident we can carry the good pace of Friday into the race, so we’ll definitely go for it. Congrats to George on his first pole. He did a very good lap today and I look forward to the battle tomorrow.”
“I’m confident we can come back stronger tomorrow” – Charles Leclerc
Team-mate Charles Leclerc admitted it was not a great session for him on the other side of the garage, although it was still good enough to put him third on the grid.
A week after crashing out from the lead of the French Grand Prix, Leclerc has the chance of getting his season back on track this weekend, particularly with championship rival Max Verstappen only tenth on the grid following a difficult session for Red Bull.
Leclerc congratulated Russell on taking his maiden pole position in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, but he will be doing everything he can to overhaul both the Briton and team-mate Sainz to take victory on Sunday.
“It wasn’t a great session,” admitted Leclerc. “The tyres were very tricky in these conditions and I struggled to get them in the right window, especially in Q3.
“The pace is there and we know we have some work to do. I’m confident we can come back stronger tomorrow.
“Congratulations to George for his first pole position, it’s a special one!”