Sainz took pole in qualifying at Spa-Francorchamps after finishing second to Max Verstappen in Q3, who is set to start from the rear of the grid as one of seven drivers penalized for engine changes.
The Spaniard’s enthusiasm on his second career F1 pole was dampened by the huge 0.632s gap to Verstappen as Red Bull looked dominant throughout the Belgian GP weekend, the first race after the summer break.
Sainz has urged Ferrari to find answers as to why it appears to have lost any one-lap advantage it had at various tracks before the summer.
“Happy to be starting on pole obviously,” Sainz said. “Not so happy to see the gap to Max this weekend and the gap that Red Bull has on us.
“We need to keep digging to see why Red Bull is so fast around this track.
“But to start from pole is a good place to start and we will try and win from there tomorrow.”
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, in Parc Ferme
Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images
Despite a “messy” final run in Q3, Sainz still managed to beat the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez in what was effectively the battle for net pole, although Red Bull’s apparent pace advantage still has Sainz worried about the Mexican’s challenge tomorrow.
“My Q3 run one was cleaner,” he said. “The out lap was a bit of a mess playing with the tows, see who wanted to lead, in the end I had to lead and I had no tow and I had to take the lead there.
“In general, it was a bit of a mess and the first lap was good enough for P2, which I knew was going to give me the pole.
“But still a bit puzzled to see this big gap to Max and to see the big gap to Red Bull, which makes me wonder what’s going to happen tomorrow in the race because I think our race pace is a bit better than our quali pace .
“But there’s definitely something there to find.”