Max Verstappen has won the first ever Formula 1 sprint race experimental qualifying format ahead of top qualifier Lewis Hamilton.
Verstappen has claimed pole position and won three championship points after winning a thrilling sprint race over the Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. The Dutch driver’s brakes were flaming before the lights went green after an intense formation lap. According to the commentators it was an attempt to heat up the tyres in hopes to bring higher grip at the start. Regardless if the brake tactic worked the start was impressive, Verstappen sped into turn one ahead of Hamilton and continued to bridge the gap between the Mercedes as the race progressed.
After the change in leaders at the front of the pack the first lap definitely did not continue drama free. Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz and Williams driver George Russell collided momentarily ending in Sainz being pushed off the racing line and down the order into 18th place. Sainz, who started 9th, quickly began to fight his way back up into a higher qualifying position and ended up finishing 11th only 2 places down from his starting position. Meanwhile, Russell held his ground in the top 10 only dropping one place to finish 9th equaling his best qualifying position for Williams. Continuing the first lap incidents, the two Haas drivers of Mich Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin came close to colliding but ended up avoiding a complete disaster resulting only in a spin for the 20th placed Mazepin who immediately continued afterwards.
Into lap 5 disaster struck for RedBull driver Sergio Perez as he over accelerated and spun his car resulting in a trip onto the grass and through the gravel trap narrowly avoiding the barriers. Perez re-entered the race in 19th place but after decisions by the mechanics further into the race his car was retired and he will start the British GP in 20th position tomorrow.
The two biggest position gainers from the new format were F1 veterans Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso who both moved up 4 positions. The Spanish Alpine driver Alonso was possibly the highlight driver of the race as he kept everyone on their toes from the beginning showing excellent pace diving into corners and pulling wide maneuvers around the outside from lap 1 all the way to the chequered flag 17 laps later. Raikkonen also showed great form starting down the pack in 17th gradually moving up closer to the top 10 ending in 13th which is a fantastic result for the Alfa Romeo driver.
Exhilarating and fast paced all the way until the end. It seems the new sprint race qualifying format could be a hit with the fans but the drivers were inconclusive in their opinions on the trial session saying it is not really up to the drivers rather the viewers. The possible next suggested trial session of this format could be seen in September at the Italian Grand Prix.
The final sprint race results and qualifying grid for the British Grand Prix were as follows:
|1||33||Max Verstappen||RED BULL RACING HONDA||17||25:38.426||3|
|5||4||Lando Norris||MCLAREN MERCEDES||17||+24.111s||0|
|6||3||Daniel Ricciardo||MCLAREN MERCEDES||17||+30.959s||0|
|7||14||Fernando Alonso||ALPINE RENAULT||17||+43.527s||0|
|8||5||Sebastian Vettel||ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES||17||+44.439s||0|
|9||63||George Russell||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||17||+46.652s||0|
|10||31||Esteban Ocon||ALPINE RENAULT||17||+47.395s||0|
|12||10||Pierre Gasly||ALPHATAURI HONDA||17||+48.763s||0|
|13||7||Kimi Räikkönen||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||17||+50.677s||0|
|14||18||Lance Stroll||ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES||17||+52.179s||0|
|15||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||17||+53.225s||0|
|16||22||Yuki Tsunoda||ALPHATAURI HONDA||17||+53.567s||0|
|17||6||Nicholas Latifi||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||17||+55.162s||0|
|18||47||Mick Schumacher||HAAS FERRARI||17||+68.213s||0|
|19||9||Nikita Mazepin||HAAS FERRARI||17||+77.648s||0|
|20||11||Sergio Perez||RED BULL RACING HONDA||16||DNF||0|
Featured image and table sourced from: F1.com