Formula One hosted its first-ever ‘Sprint Race’ at the 2021 British Grand Prix in Silverstone and the overall reaction from the paddock saw this new introduction receive plenty of positive reviews. After Lewis Hamilton secured pole for the sprint with an excellent qualifying lap on Friday, Max Verstappen was able to take the win and the 3 points on Saturday with an excellent pass on Lewis on lap 1 of the Sprint, which also gave him Pole position for the main race on Sunday.
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There was plenty of other eye-catching action throughout the grid with Fernando Alonso gaining plenty of ground on lap one with some vintage passes while Sergio Perez slipped down to 20th after losing the rear of his car, demonstrating the jeopardy at play during the sprint race.
This new sprint-race is set to feature at Monza and one other yet-to-be-named venue later this year, so here are some of the reactions from around the F1 paddock on this exciting new addition.
Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
“That was good fun. I’m of course happy to score the three points and it’s quite funny to have a pole position from the race as well but we will take it. Around here it is difficult to pass but we had a good start and a good fight with Lewis on the first lap.”
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
“I think it was great for F1 to try something new and even if the race wasn’t particularly exciting after the first lap for myself, there are definitely learnings we can take from today.
Yesterday was enjoyable with the way it was set-up with the one session and then straight into qualifying. In my opinion, it only needs to be a Saturday and Sunday weekend. That way we have one whole day less of driving these cars around the track. Obviously that would be better in terms of going more green.”
Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
“I think the format itself, it doesn’t make much sense. Practice two, the way it is, I think that is something that drivers and teams tend to see as a bit useless because it is not like you can prepare for anything at that point.
You cannot prepare for the sprint and you cannot prepare much for the race. Everyone is saving mileage so I think that is something that can be improved.”
Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
“I really enjoyed the Sprint Qualifying today. Driving flat out for 17 laps is different to what we are used to and I had a lot of fun. One big difference is that you don’t have to think about saving tyres and can just go for it. I didn’t take any risks but had there been a good opportunity to gain a position, I would have taken it.
Overall, I have liked the format of the weekend so far. It gives each day something special to look forward to, especially on the Friday, where you have more to gain with qualifying than you would on a normal weekend. I think it makes things more exciting, for us as well as the fans.”
Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)
“That was quite good fun! It’s obviously over pretty quickly, but Alonso having a good start made our race a bit more exciting, so I enjoyed it! The first ten laps were busy, I thought that was cool, so I hope the fans liked it.”
Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin)
“I have enjoyed this unusual weekend format so far. It was interesting to have the intense moment yesterday evening followed by the Sprint today, which can go either way.
I don’t know. I can see that maybe in the future there will be more of this, I’m sure the people liked it, I guess it is better than free practice.”
Guenther Steiner (Haas Team Principal)
“For me personally, this was a good experiment – but it’s not about what I think, it’s about what the fans think. If we come to the conclusion that they like it, then I’m all for it.”
(1) F1 should have this at 7-8 tracks a year where overtaking is possible
(2) Drivers should have to use the softest 2 compounds so we get a pitstop
(3) The FIA / F1 should just name it “The Sprint Race” because we’re all calling it that anyway! https://t.co/jjdEi8mnNt
— Karun Chandhok (@karunchandhok) July 18, 2021
The verdict is still out…Which side of the fence are you on?
[Image Credit: Red Bull Content Pool]