Sainz beat Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to claim the top spot on the grid for Ferrari’s home race by just 0.013s, with his team-mate Charles Leclerc only 0.054s further back in third. 

The Spaniard explained afterwards that although he had led FP2 and FP3 this weekend, and taken second behind Verstappen in FP1, at no stage before his final qualifying efforts had he taken the risks necessary to find a clear edge through several critical corners at this park-based circuit with his SF-23 on the limit. 

When asked by how he felt finally doing so had made the difference to beat Verstappen, Sainz said his approach was “typical here in Monza”. 

He then revealed his thoughts before his final runs had gone back to earlier flying laps at the Monza track, which included his McLaren stint in 2019-2020. 

“You have such a light feeling with the car [here] that you never really are willing in practice to take the car to the absolute limit and to as [have to] do in Q3 when it counts,” he added.  

“I’ve had a few good laps here in Q3 and I remember my McLaren days and even last year here I had a really good run around Ascari and Parabolica – when you go and remove that fear a bit and go to take the ultimate risk.  

“And today it worked again. I just got into that corner, that is an incredibly fast corner and the car feels incredibly light and you just hope it grips and it did, like it’s been all weekend.  

“I had a very good run through there and I could take pole by hundredths.” 

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23