The Ferrari driver snatched pole away from Max Verstappen in treacherous conditions at a sodden Silverstone with a stunning lap to top qualifying for the first time in his F1 career. 

Verstappen had looked the favourite for pole after setting the pace in the opening two sessions of qualifying before Sainz pipped him by just 0.072s at the end of Q3.

Sainz sounded shocked when he was informed of his pole, saying over team radio: “No way! Holy s***! I didn't expect that one. I felt terrible out there! How did I do P1?”

His race engineer responded: “You kept it together, like a smooth operator.”

Speaking after qualifying, Sainz said his Q3 laps did not feel “amazing” and described his maiden pole as an “emotional” moment for him. 

“Honestly I had no idea where I was going to qualify because the conditions were so changeable that I didn’t even know what was the lap time to beat in Q3,” Sainz explained. 

“I didn’t know what lap time I had to do on that lap to go pole. It didn’t feel amazing because I did a small mistake in Turn 3 which threw me out of line into Turn 4. Then I remember going through the high speed and thinking ‘maybe I should’ve pushed a bit more’. 

“Then running out of battery into 15 and 16, I said ‘I have the lap on the board, through the corners it’s not bad but missing the battery and everything in the last straights, I was convinced that it was not going to be enough. 

“But then it turned out to be enough and I was pretty happy to hear that. That’s what I meant with the lap wasn’t perfect, because of these couple of things. 

“In the end, in these conditions a lot of the times it’s about putting it together, putting a decent lap on the board, not the most optimal, perfect lap of your life.”

And Sainz said he is looking forward to head the F1 grid for the first time in his career on Sunday. 

“[I feel] good, the formation lap will feel great in the Ferrari,” he added. “It’s the first time I will do it [in F1]. I think I haven’t forgot since I led a formation lap in World Series by Renault. 

“I think I’ve led a couple of races in F1, I think it was Portimao and it felt great. That’s the target, to do it again.” 

Leclerc ‘disappointed’ with third 

Sainz’s Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc ended up third and three-tenths down after a costly spin on his final lap of Q3. 

"I am disappointed but happy for Carlos,” he said. “I knew the last lap was when I had to put everything together - but I didn’t. So I don’t deserve pole.

“P3 is still a good position and hopefully, if I put everything together, I can come back. The pace is there. If we have a clean race, it should go well.

“Tyre management? The strategy is mixed between one and two stops. Hopefully we make the right choice.”