McLaren Formula 1 driver Carlos Sainz was left “shaking” after “risking a lot” on his way to claiming third place on the grid for the Italian Grand Prix.

The Spaniard turned in a stunning late lap in the final part of qualifying to take third place, just eight-tenths behind the dominant Mercedes duo, and ahead of both Sergio Perez’s Racing Point and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

But Sainz was worried he had ruined his final flying effort with a mistake at the first Lesmo.

“On the last lap I nearly messed up,” Sainz said. “I had a big moment in the first Lesmo and I nearly lost it. From that point on I had to drive on the edge.

“I’m actually shaking a bit, because I really had to go for it through Ascari and Parabolica.”

Third on the grid at Monza marks Sainz’s career-best starting position in F1. Teammate Lando Norris was sixth fastest as McLaren recorded its strongest qualifying result of the season so far.

“I felt like I nailed Q1 and Q2, but on the first run in Q3, I didn’t quite nail it,” he explained.

“The lap didn’t start very well, so I needed some very strong final corners. I really went for it. I risked a lot and it paid off. As you can see, after the dive I did into Ascari, I was a bit like ‘woah, that was way too late’.

“I’ve been feeling very strong since the start of qualifying, since Q1. I managed to get through Q1 with only one set of tyres with a very strong lap.

“And from there I was just chipping away and trying to to put a 1’19.6 on the board, which I knew would’ve given me a top five position.”

 

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