Immediate impressions after Formula 1’s first ever Sprint Qualifying are positive. The 17 laps to decide the grid for the 72nd British Grand Prix to count for the Formula 1 World Championship provided spectacle and excitement for the crowd at Silverstone and viewers around the world. The outcome however was bitter-sweet for Scuderia Ferrari. Charles maintained his fourth place on the grid, but Carlos, who ended up being one of the stars of the show with a string of overtaking moves, lost several places after a collision with Russell in the early wheel to wheel stage of the race.
Fight back. After the incident, Carlos dropped to 19th but he didn’t lose heart and in just 12 laps he managed seven passing moves to get back up to eleventh place. He starts from that position tomorrow, in what will be essentially a continuation of today’s race, aware that he has the potential to move further up the order.
Indications. This afternoon produced plenty of valuable data in terms of the outright competitive level of the car as well as that relating to tyre management. From what could be seen today, with higher temperatures expected tomorrow, the Grand Prix will be very closely fought but also very exciting.
Charles Leclerc #16
"I really enjoyed Sprint Qualifying today. Driving flat out for 17 laps is different to what we are used to and I had a lot of fun. One big difference is that you don’t have to think about saving tyres and can just go for it. I didn’t take any risks but had there been a good opportunity to gain a position, I would have taken it. It was a bit lonely from my point of view, but in a good way because I could keep up with the pace of the car ahead without it pulling way too much. Overall, I have liked the format of the weekend so far. It gives each day something special to look forward to, especially on the Friday, where you have more to gain with qualifying than you would on a normal weekend. I think it makes things more exciting, for us as well as the fans. The run on the Medium tyres was quite representative. Even if the fuel level was not the same as it will be for the race, it gave us a good picture of the balance. There is a lot of data to analyse tonight and to learn from for tomorrow."
Carlos Sainz #55
"More than a Sprint Qualifying it was a “comeback stint“ for me today. I’m very far from happy because the car had good pace and I was looking forward to qualifying in a good position for tomorrow. Unfortunately my race was heavily compromised at the first lap due to what I honestly think was George’s mistake. He locked up and hit me in the rear of the car, forcing me off the track and obviously sending me to the back of the field in P19. I wasn’t going to give up, so I pushed flat out for the rest of the race, did some good overtakes despite the difficulties at this track and managed to recover to P11. It was a strong comeback, but I would’ve preferred not to be pushed off. Anyway, it’s part of racing and we still have tomorrow to try and make up more places. The car is ready and so am I. Let’s race again."
Laurent Mekies, Racing Director
"A good debut for Sprint Qualifying, which provided a show and some interesting points. For our part, Charles produced a great performance to ensure he starts tomorrow’s race from fourth, where he qualified yesterday. More importantly, he showed strong pace, running not far behind the three cars ahead of him. It was a shame for Carlos, who dropped back from yesterday’s qualifying position because of a difficult opening lap and a coming-together with Russell, which he could do nothing about. It’s even more of a shame given that he had the potential to make up places rather than lose them. At least he put on a great show this afternoon! These 17 laps have provided us with plenty of data to prepare for tomorrow’s race and that’s what we are concentrating on from now on. Before this weekend, we knew the difficulties we would face. From what we have seen so far, the work we have done is starting to pay off in terms of performance, both on a qualifying lap and over a long run. But we will only have the full picture after the chequered flag falls."