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Carlos Sainz

Sainz 'in disbelief' at Australia front-row

Carlos Sainz qualified second for Ferrari on his return at the Australian Grand Prix - to Max Verstappen.

Sainz Australia
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Carlos Sainz was "almost not believing" his ability to be fighting Max Verstappen for Australian Grand Prix pole position after his comeback from surgery.

Ferrari driver Sainz missed Saudi Arabia after having his appendix removed and has been unable to train or drive the simulator since as he recovered from the surgery.

Throughout qualifying in Melbourne, he looked the nearest challenger to Verstappen and Red Bull, who was hunting a fourth straight pole, and third this season.

Sainz pushing through

In the end, a blistering lap of a 1:15.915 was good enough to secure a 35th career pole for Verstappen with Sainz slotting in on the front row, nearly three-tenths behind - but still comfortably ahead of Sergio Perez in third.

"It has been a tough couple of weeks, a lot of days in bed seeing if I could be here in this moment," Sainz explained.

"To make it to this weekend, and then to put it on the front row after leading through qualifying, I was almost not believing it, especially after how tough it has been, but I am happy to be here.

"I'm very happy to be challenging the Red Bulls this weekend, I was a bit rusty at the beginning, but then I got up to speed, and I could finally be on the pace and feel good with the car.

"I am not going to lie, I am not in my most comfortable state when I am driving out there, but I can get it done without the pain.

"Obviously, there is a lot of discomfort and weird feelings, but no pain, so it allows me to push flat out."

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