F1 2021
Round 10

A Close Battle See's Verstappen In P2 For F1's First Sprint Qualifying Race

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The first Friday qualifying session in Formula 1 since 2003 was a productive one for Red Bull Racing as the grid was set for Saturday’s first ever Sprint with Max on the front row.

A Close Battle See's Verstappen In P2 For F1's First Sprint Qualifying Race

In Q1, Max set the pace and was the only driver to advance with just one run, while Sergio was fourth. Scuderia AlphaTauri had a tougher time of things due to the high level of track evolution, and while Pierre did make it through in 13th position, Yuki unfortunately dropped out in 16th, ending up just 0.026s away from a place in Q2 after going for two timed laps on his final run.

It was a sign of things to come in the second part of qualifying, as the two Red Bulls again made it safely through, while Pierre improved on his Q1 performance to gain a position but will start the Sprint from 12th place. Soft tyres were all that could be used by the drivers in qualifying as part of the new format this weekend, with a free choice of compounds for the Sprint and the race on Sunday.

Max had been second quickest in Q2 and that was a theme that continued as he missed out on top spot by just 0.075s, but he’s still well-placed for the Sprint, where points are on offer to the top three and the winner will be credited with pole position for the grand prix.

Sergio looked set to line-up directly behind his team-mate in fourth place after his final lap but then saw his best time deleted for exceeding track limits, dropping him to fifth.

We will get one more one-hour practice session on Saturday to make limited set-up tweaks before the first Sprint - a 17-lap race - in the afternoon.

Toyoharu Tanabe
Toyoharu Tanabe
Honda Racing F1
The first day of the British Grand Prix weekend featured a completely new format, with just one hour of free practice before a qualifying session to decide the Sprint Qualifying grid. For Red Bull Racing Honda, Max was second fastest, but very close to the quickest time and Sergio finished a solid fifth, although he had a faster time disallowed. However, Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda struggled a lot more than usual, with neither driver making it to Q3, Pierre qualifying 12th and Yuki 16th. Today was a new experience for everyone, but from a PU point of view, we managed to operate everything smoothly, although we saw that there was some added difficulty in setting up both the chassis and PU with just 60 minutes of free practice. To prepare for Sprint Qualifying, we will now look at today’s data and simulate various scenarios that we might expect in tomorrow’s short race.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen 33
Red Bull Racing
Of course I am disappointed because I wanted to start first tomorrow but we have the sprint qualifying race to decide the main grid and then Sunday as well so we will try and get them back. Overall, the car was handling quite well but we just had a lot of understeer and I couldn’t really attack the corners as I was waiting for the front to grip up. It was a bit of a weird feeling to drive and I don’t think it was set-up or front wing related, so maybe front tyres, but we will look at it and it’s nothing dramatic. To be this close is still very good for us on a track we expected Mercedes to be very strong and we know we have a good race car so I’m still confident for the rest of the weekend.

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez 11
Red Bull Racing
I ran wide into Turn 15 and my best lap time was deleted which is a bit of a shame but those are the rules and luckily I only lost one place. P4 would have been a bit better but we have the sprint race to make it further up the grid for Sunday so still there is plenty to play for. We improved the car a lot as the day went on but I found a bit of a difference in the balance at the end of Q3 and couldn’t get the most out of the car. I’m looking forward to tomorrow as it will be interesting to see what happens with the new sprint format and how much progress we are able to make in that race.

Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly 10
Scuderia AlphaTauri
Since FP1 we’ve struggled with the car balance, far more than usual. We made some changes for Qualifying, but it just wasn’t enough. I was happy with my lap in Q2 but as I crossed the line, I knew it wasn’t going to be enough, it was just so tight out there today. I think it’s going to be hard the next few days, because we can’t make changes to the car anymore. We only have FP2 to understand the tyre better ahead of the Sprint Qualifying and Sunday’s race, but we’ll fight as hard as always, it’s a different format and lots of things can happen, you never know.

Yuki Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda 22
Scuderia AlphaTauri
After FP1 I’d started to get used to the circuit, but I had a lot of traffic and never managed to put together a perfect lap. So, going into Qualifying after just one session was always going to be difficult. It’s a shame to be out in Q1 today, but the field was really tight at the end and I struggled again with traffic on my final push lap. Starting tomorrow from P16 I think will be difficult, but I’ll give it everything I’ve got during Sprint Qualifying and we’ll see what I can do.

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