Carlos Sainz went fastest around rainy Silverstone and scored his first ever pole position. Can he convert his... Saturday victory into a Sunday victory?
Ferrari managed to find that little something they seemed to lack after the end of FP3. Red Bull looked like they had the upper hand ahead of Qualifying, and with Verstappen being really good in wet conditions, it was advantage for Verstappen and Red Bull.
But, rain is a grid shuffler. Carlos Sainz put in a good enough lap to shoot for pole position, and so it happened. In the post Quali media press he said that he was struggling a lot with the conditions, as there was a lot of standing water on the track and the intermediate tyre was difficult to manage in these conditions.
He added: "In the end I put together a lap that I didn't think was that special just to be on the board and it was pole position which came as a bit of a surprise."
As our good friend and colleague Dimitris Bizas says, if the points for the Championship were given on Saturday, Ferrari would’ve already won. But they’re clearly not. The team needs to put in an errorless race, in order to regain some of the points they lost against Red Bull in the last six races. Reliability will play a huge factor in this as well, with the Italian team struggling with it for over a few weeks now.
For me, a Sainz win could be possible, but you know how it goes with me and my Carlos jinxes. Verstappen and Red Bull will definitely try and maintain their winning streak, and extend their dominance over both Championships.
Now, let’s talk about Mercedes. Both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell said that the car feels significantly improved, and so it looks anyway. Lap times have been quick all weekend, with Hamilton sitting at P2-P4 in all practice sessions. In terms of bouncing, they both reported minimal oscillations, while the W13 seems to be quicker, more stable and overall a much easier to drive car.
In my opinion, it’s not impossible for Mercedes to score another podium, with Hamilton starting from P5 on the grid. A P4 or an ‘almost podium’ is definitely more doable, not what they’re hoping for though.
Moving further down the order, I think it’s safe to say that Guanyu Zhou is proving to be a very good choice for the second Alfa Romeo seat. He constantly delivers and apart from some reliability issues he had over the last few races, he’s been very consistent.
Zhou will start today’s race from P9, with Valtteri Bottas starting two positions behind him, in P11. Nicholas Latifi put a stellar performance through qualifying and will start from P10, but I doubt he’ll be able to hold on to that position for too long after the race start.
So, just like in Canada, I would put my money on Alfa Romeo to score a double points finish.
McLaren and Alpine definitely have a place in the top 10, with Norris and Alonso, respectively, and it’ll be interesting to see how this battle plays out. Alpine have brought updates and Alonso said that the car feels good to drive.
To sum up, my final predictions place Verstappen on top, but it’ll be a very close battle with either or both Ferraris. Mercedes will fight for another podium, and I think they’ll succeed.
I think that if everything goes well for Alfa Romeo regarding the reliability issues they’ve had here and there, they’ll be able to score another double points finish.
Alpine will fight for position with both McLaren and Mercedes, so a P5-P6 would be more than possible.
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