SPA FRANCORCHAMPS: Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz claimed pole for the Belgian Grand Prix despite finishing behind Red Bull’s world champion Max Verstappen in qualifying at Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday.

Sainz was the main beneficiary as a posse of drivers, including Verstappen, picked up penalties after fitting new power units to their cars for Sunday’s 14th round of the season.

Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez starts alongside Sainz on the front row.

This was Spaniard Sainz’s second career pole after July’s British Grand Prix where he went on to claim his maiden win.

“I’m happy to start from pole but not so happy when I see the gap we have to Max,” said Sainz, 0.632seconds slower than Verstappen.

Sainz’s Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc, 80 points adrift of Verstappen in the title race, took fourth in qualifying but was also demoted.

With fifth-placed Esteban Ocon also among the sanctioned seven, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton fill the second row. Both are on the hunt for their first wins of the 22-race season.

Published in Dawn, August 28th, 2022

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