Max Verstappen took pole position for Sunday’s Formula 1 British Grand Prix by winning the very first 17-lap F1 Sprint race followed by Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
F1’s first Sprint was designed to mix the weekend up and put a little more racing and energy into a Grand Prix event. There was mixed reaction to the program and mainly because no one could decide whether to call it a race or not.
There were also questions about the overarching cost/benefit analysis the teams would naturally do in determining just how hard they would push during the Sprint in order to get a good starting position for the race. Push too hard and you could end up with damage or at the back of the grid like Sergio Perez did by spinning early on in the race.
This left the mid-field with less to lose by pushing and push they did. Some nice battles for 6th-11th place. Hammering a 17-lap race into the weekend was not without its challenges and even ESPN, here in the US, seemed put out by having to cover the session cutting immediately out of the broadcast at 14 minutes past the hour. I guess they didn’t buy any of the post race commentary from Sky.
One thing the Sprint did show us is that the blistering on the Pirelli tires for Verstappen and Hamilton might suggest a very difficult day in the office on Sunday and most likely a 2-stopper race.