Sprint Qualifying
F1 2021
Round 10

Honda Power Wins The Inaugural F1 Sprint With Verstappen

gb Silverstone

Formula 1’s first Sprint event saw Max secure pole position for the British Grand Prix but it was a bittersweet day as Sergio retired.

Honda Power Wins The Inaugural F1 Sprint With Verstappen

The 100km-race - taking place over 17 laps at Silverstone - sets the grid for Sunday’s main grand prix this weekend as part of a trial, and we lined up with Max in second and Sergio fifth for Red Bull Racing, while Pierre was 12th on the grid and Yuki 16th for Scuderia AlphaTauri after Friday’s qualifying. 

Teams have a free choice of tyres for the Sprint and all four drivers started on the medium compound tyre, with the majority of the field doing the same as only four - Valtteri Bottas, the two Alpine drivers and Kimi Raikkonen - opted for softs.

Max made a brilliant start to take the lead from Lewis Hamilton into Turn 1, while Sergio got boxed in and dropped to seventh. Pierre held position while Yuki dropped back to 17th as Raikkonen made up ground on the softer compound.

While Max pulled away in the lead, Sergio was trying to find a way past Lando Norris and spun off at high speed in dirty air, flat-spotting his tyres and dropping to the back of the field. After making his way past a few cars, Sergio was forced to retire late on due to safety concerns because of the vibrations from his tyres and he’ll start from the back of the grid.

Max measured the gap to win the Sprint and ensure he starts from pole position in the grand prix, providing us with our first pole at Silverstone since Ayrton Senna in 1989 and our fourth consecutive pole this year. Although Pierre and Yuki both gained a position as a result of Sergio’s incidents, a late move from Carlos Sainz dropped Pierre back to 12th for tomorrow’s race, while Yuki will also start from 16th.

Toyoharu Tanabe
Toyoharu Tanabe
Honda Racing F1
In today’s first ever Formula 1 Sprint Qualifying, a fantastic start from Max saw him go straight into the lead and go on to claim his and Red Bull Racing Honda’s fourth consecutive pole, although this one was of course a bit different to the past three. Unfortunately, Checo lost several places after spinning  and in the end the team retired him because it had caused a lot of tyre vibration which was a safety concern. For Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda, both Pierre and Yuki finished where they started in 12th and 16th places and so far, it’s been a difficult weekend for the team. In tomorrow’s race Max will have both Mercedes right behind him on the grid, while the other three Honda drivers are quite a way further back, which means it could be a difficult race for all of them.  Having a race today means we have acquired a lot of useful data, relevant for tomorrow’s main Grand Prix and we will be spending the next few hours analysing it all carefully.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen 33
Red Bull Racing
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. From then we tried to do our own pace but we were pushing each other hard right to the end as you could see the tyres were blistering which we all had to manage. Starting the race on lower fuel we could really push the cars hard through the fast corners, lap after lap, which means it is naturally hard on tyres but we all have the same to watch out for. We now can’t touch the cars for tomorrow and we learnt today that it is very close again with us and Mercedes. It seems that we are very quick in the corners and they are quicker on the straights so tomorrow it’s going to be a really exciting battle and the Team did a great job to manage the new format this weekend. I also want to say a big thank you to the fans. I know they are mainly here for the British drivers but it is still great to see them here cheering and all I want is a good battle with Lewis and everyone else tomorrow which should keep the fans entertained.

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez 11
Red Bull Racing
It’s a real shame to have to retire from the sprint race today as the car felt quite good. It was a poor day for me and I can only say sorry to the Team as I lost the rear of the car while battling with Lando which ruined our day. I was in the middle of the corner, already picking up quite a lot of throttle and I think I got caught in a bit of dirty air and became a passenger really early in the corner. I avoided any contact but after the spin we had too much vibration on the tyres and that was it. The Team were worried about the damage that could be caused with the vibrations, and there wasn’t anything more to gain, so they made the decision to retire the car. We’re at the back of the grid tomorrow and it’s not easy to overtake here, but we look like we have a lot of pace in the car so you can be sure I will be pushing hard to score as many points as possible. It’s a low point for me, but tomorrow is a new day and I look forward to seeing what we can do.

Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly 10
Scuderia AlphaTauri
I’m quite frustrated this evening, it was just not what we wanted out there today. We started this weekend badly in FP1 and with only one practice session we couldn’t really react to that ahead of Qualifying, then today I’ve really struggled again. It’s very disappointing because I know the car has much more potential but so far, we just haven’t managed to get it working here this weekend. We will look at all the data tonight and try everything we can to make our way up to the points in the tomorrow’s race.

Yuki Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda 22
Scuderia AlphaTauri
I’m obviously disappointed with today’s performance, I’m not finishing in a position that I’m happy with and I’m then starting the race tomorrow from the same place. I feel that this weekend’s format is quite difficult for rookies, as you only have one free practice session before Qualifying, which is tough, but I hope the spectators enjoyed this new schedule. We’ve struggled with the performance of the car this whole weekend, so we just need to go away tonight and review the data so we can learn more for tomorrow’s race.

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