MONACO — Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz believes he would have been on pole position at the Monaco Grand Prix had his teammate, Charles Leclerc, not crashed in the final moments of qualifying.
Leclerc secured pole for Sunday’s race, but only after he hit the barriers on the exit of the Swimming Pool chicane, resulting in red flags that brought qualifying to a premature end.
Sainz, who qualified fourth, was on a lap further behind on the track and, like Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas, believes he had a shot at taking pole position from Leclerc had the session not been stopped.
“I’m very disappointed to be honest,” he said.
“It’s a difficult thing to accept, to digest, it’s not like every day of your life you have the opportunity to put it on pole in Monaco because today I definitely had the pace to do so, but due to the circumstances I didn’t. “It’s a very frustrating day for me.”
Sainz said a mistake at the end of his first attempt left him with the fourth-fastest time, but that he could have beaten Leclerc’s time of 1:10.346.
“Run one I lost 0.2s-0.3s in the last sector compared to my best lap so I knew a 1:10.2, 1:10.1, with the track evolution, was there,” he added.
“I had a lot of traffic [on my second attempt] — [Sergio] Perez into Turn 1 — and I already lost a tenth, but then I was recovering the lap time and knew I had the lap time in the last sector, but it was out of Turn 13 I saw the yellow flag [for Leclerc’s accident] and had to abort.
“I have had the pace to put it on pole, so yeah, I’m starting fourth, so not even close to that.
“I went into qualifying thinking a pole and the win would be possible and now I’m lining up fourth which is very far away from where I think I could have been.”
Asked if he was angry at teammate Leclerc for the accident, Sainz added: “No, I cannot be angry with him, we are here at the limit, pushing these cars like you cannot imagine, brushing nearly every corner, fastest cars in history, these things can happen.
“I’m unhappy with life for the circumstances now that haven’t given me the opportunity to fight for pole for the first time, at Monaco with Ferrari.
“I didn’t get the possibility to do that.”
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