Leclerc 'confident' in race pace after 'surprise' Italian GP pole

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Charles Leclerc is "confident" he can convert a "surprise" Italian Grand Prix pole into victory on Sunday.

Due to penalties for others, the Monegasque only really needed a clean qualifying to secure P1 on the grid for Ferrari.

But Leclerc wasn't content with just inheriting pole and instead, went out and beat Max Verstappen by just over a tenth of a second to delight the Tifosi at Monza.

"I did not expect to fight for pole here, so it's a great surprise to have pole at home," he said post-session.

"It's a very good surprise today, especially where we came from in Spa. We were really struggling at Spa, and [here] we found some pace. It shows we are going in the right direction.

"The lap I'm extremely happy with," he added. "The first run [of Q3], I didn't do a great lap, but then I managed to put everything together.

“It was the last lap and I knew I had to find quite a lot of performance there and I just went for it and it worked out.”

Even though Leclerc will start six places ahead of Verstappen on Sunday, many still believe it is the reigning world champion who is the favourite to take the win.

Leclerc Pole ItaGP

But the 2019 victor at Monza believes he and Ferrari can compete.

"Our race pace is strong, the feeling was really good," he said. "Whatever happens on the first lap, I think we still have the pace to win the race. I think we can have a good Sunday.

“We just need to put everything together and do no mistakes.”

As for teammate Carlos Sainz, he was never in contention for pole as penalties of his own guaranteed a back-of-the-grid start on Sunday.

Still, that didn't stop the Spaniard from almost making it a Ferrari one-two in qualifying in third.

“It was honestly a very good qualifying. I was feeling very well and I was pushing through Q1, Q2 and Q3,” Sainz commented.

“The only issue was not having a tow, which probably cost two, three-tenths to fight them for pole position, but I am starting last anyway tomorrow so it’s not like it changes my life.

“It was a very good lap. I had to take a lot of risks for the lack of a tow. I was faster in every corner but slower on every straight, so in the end, I didn’t improve much.


Sainz will line up 18th for the race after all the penalties have been applied, and he hopes to put on a show for those in red.

"I hope we can stage a good recovery tomorrow and for sure I’m going to push flat out to make up as many positions as possible," he said.

“I’ll try to put on a good show and make my way back through the field. The pace is there, but I wish I could be there at the front with Charles.

"The support from the Tifosi in the grandstands has been absolutely incredible all weekend, and we’ll do our best to gift them with an exciting race."