Verstappen wins the first F1 Sprint race and starts from pole for the British GP
Max Verstappen wins the first F1 Sprint race of the season after starting from P2. Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas came in a close second and third as they struggled to replicate the pace of the Red Bull in front of them. The sprint race lasted for 17 laps, but it was enough for some really good wheel to wheel battles, overtakes and mistakes. On one hand, the highlight of today’s sprint was Fernando Alonso making six places in the starting lap of the race, while on the other hand, Carlos Sainz made contact with George Russell and fell down the order. Sergio Perez was the sole retirement from the race, skidding of at Becketts, dropping down the order and then retiring just before the chequered flag.
The image of a race starting on a Saturday was quite surprising to say the least, but due to the implementation of the experimental weekend, we got to see the grid lined up for a sprint race. The lights went out for the F1 Sprint and Max quickly got off the line and overtook Lewis who was in pole. Hamilton did try and catch Max for a lap but eventually had to settle for the second position.
There was wheel to wheel racing from the get go and Alonso was the biggest gainer off the line. On the other hand, Carlos Sainz made contact with Russel and spun off to P19 at the first sector of the track. Their race incident is to be discussed by the FIA after the race.
By lap 5, Verstappen was about 1.5 seconds ahead from Hamilton and was stretching the lead. Perez on the other hand lost the rear of his Red Bull coming out of Becketts while he was in pursuit of Lando and Alonso. He did manage to save his car but had to retire by the end of the race.
Alonso had started the race with soft compound tyres but eventually was facing the problems for his choice. He slowly started losing pace as the soft tyre degraded with each lap. He eventually finished P7, right ahead of Sebatian Vettel.
By the closing stages of the race, both Max and Hamilton had similar blisters on their right front medium tyres. This was an alarming problem for both the teams as the sprint distance was only 17 laps. Infact, Max was also asked to stay off all the curbs if possible by the end of the race. What does it mean for the race tomorrow? Only one way to find out.
The F1 Sprint was a first, but it did live up to the expectations that we had. It had a lot of drama and some really close battles between the drivers. This experiment was a nice change to the weekend till now, but we all take comfort in the fact that tomorrow will be the usual Sunday GP that we all have come to adore in a Formula 1 race week.