What the drivers thought about F1's first sprint race - The Race
Formula 1

What the drivers thought about F1’s first sprint race

Jul 17 2021

Formula 1 fans “love” the sprint race concept after its debut at the British Grand prix, according to F1 chief Ross Brawn.

But have the drivers enjoyed the experimental weekend format shake-up just as much?

Here are a selection of their thoughts:

Fernando Alonso – “I hope we can keep this format”

“I liked the format. We have action for three days, good for the people.

“When I was watching races at home Friday meant nothing because the long runs are very important for the teams but not for the people at home.

“I hope we can keep this format and if anything I will suggest Fridays could be more spicy. Like having one set of tyres and one attempt by everybody. It gives the same chance to everyone – it’s not unfair or a reverse order or anything like that.

“But if we get one chance it’s the same for everyone and maybe it will change something. Because we saw yesterday with six attempts, six sets of tyres, we finish in the performance order of our cars, like every qualifying. Maybe we can change that.”

Max Verstappen – “It’s a bit odd”

“First off for me, Friday didn’t feel more enjoyable because we did qualifying… for me personally qualifying is where you should get pole position, and of course Lewis was ahead there, but you jump out of the car and it actually doesn’t… Well, it does mean something but not the real hype of, you know, I nailed the lap and I put it on pole or whatever.

“When I crossed the line today after this race and they were like, ‘yeah, great job, pole position’, it feels a bit like, ‘yeah, I did a kind of like one third of the race distance’ and then to hear you did pole position for tomorrow it’s a bit odd.”

George Russell – “It seems very strange right now”

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship British Grand Prix Qualifying Day Silverstone, England

“It was quite fun, really, really pushing the cars to the limit, which is not what we often get to do. It was only in the final lap or two that the tyres did start to degrade, and obviously that’s when the real action would ordinarily happen in a normal-length race.

“I was a fan of having qualifying yesterday and having three days of action… I don’t know, it seems very strange right now, having finished a race, going off to do it all again tomorrow, and not getting any points for finishing inside the top 10 [pre-penalty]. Which is obviously a little bit frustrating, given our position.

“But I’ll have to review after the weekend. I definitely enjoyed qualifying yesterday.”

Jul 17 : Our verdict on F1's first sprint race at Silverstone

Sebastian Vettel – “Better than a bunch of free practices”

“We love racing, it’s a little race and it’s weird because it’s by far the shortest race I have done in years, but yeah, it’s not bad.

“I think yesterday to be honest was good fun, to have already something on a Friday that matters, that was nice.

“I could see that maybe in the future there will be more of this. The people liked it, I guess it’s better than a bunch of free practices.”

Lewis Hamilton – “It only needs to be a Saturday and Sunday weekend”

“Yesterday was enjoyable the way it was set up, I think, which was the one session and straight into qualifying.

“In my opinion, it only needs to be a Saturday and Sunday weekend, that means we have one whole day less, 23 days actually less of driving these cars around the track and obviously that would be better in terms of going more green.

“It’s so difficult for us to pass and unfortunately with these cars you need pitstops and strategy to help sometimes otherwise it’s so hard to get close.

“I think the fans enjoyed it, from what we saw on the parade laps. It’s always nice doing more races that’s for sure, but tomorrow we’ve only got one event, right?

“It’s almost like they should almost do the sprint race on the Sunday and the race because there could be a lot of sitting around for people tomorrow.”

Valtteri Bottas – “I enjoyed Friday more”

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship British Grand Prix Qualifying Day Silverstone, England

“If I would choose which I enjoyed more, I would say Friday. I really enjoy qualifying and that feeling of pushing the car to the limit on a single lap.

“Obviously was a nice thing to try, get another start, but the same lines as Lewis.

“But it’s still good fun, racing with these cars against the best drivers on this amazing track in front of all the fans, it’s nice but I’m just already looking forward to tomorrow for the main event.”

Carlos Sainz – “It’s for the fans”

“It’s not for me to judge. I think this format is more for the fans and more for the people at home. If they enjoy it more then I’m up for it.”

Daniel Ricciardo – “I treated it like a Sunday”

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship British Grand Prix Qualifying Day Silverstone, England

“If you approach it with a conservative mindset then you could just go back through being too cautious. I treated it like a Sunday race. The last few laps when it was settled, then there wasn’t too much risk needed but I think lap one, you’ve got to go and that’s just how it is.”

Antonio Giovinazzi – “Not much going on after lap one”

“I don’t know to be honest. I think it’s not much going on after lap one, so we need to see again to be honest. Not 100% convinced, but we’ll see.”

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