Brawn: Sprint Race Will Answer Key Verstappen-Hamilton F1 Question at British GP

Published 07/12/2021, 9:49 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Spanish Grand Prix – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain – May 9, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after winning the race Pool via REUTERS/Emilio Morenatti


The upcoming British GP has everyone’s attention. It’s the season’s first sprint weekend, which will, presumably, spice things up. While Lewis Hamilton believes the race will be nothing special, Ross Brawn supposes otherwise. F1’s managing director credits Baku’s restart for giving everyone a peek into the thrill Silverstone can hold.

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“I think what was fascinating was Baku and the little sprint we had at the end, which was exciting,” explained Brawn.

Brawn believes that the drivers can’t get the competition out of their system. “I think racing drivers will race each other in a supermarket car park with shopping trolleys. It’s their nature that they want to beat each other: and there is nothing worse for them to be beaten by somebody.” 

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Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit, Portimao, Portugal – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton speaks with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Jose Sena Goulao

The sprint qualifying could turn a new leaf in the Hamilton-Verstappen title rivalry. Brawn further intensified his hopes, saying, “I think it will be a very good event, a great race… do we think Max [Verstappen] and Lewis [Hamilton] is going to have a different mindset going into that first corner because it’s a sprint? I don’t think so.

“But that’s to be established, and that’s what we need to find out.”

Sprint racing, explained

The FIA and F1 are trying to bring back pure, hard racing. The new format promises 30 minutes of crisp racing, no tire changes, and no mandatory pit stops – just the driver, car, and track. And this is an idea Brawn supports.

“We’ve really tried to encourage flat out racing the whole time. We wanted to have no holding back in qualifying, no funny tire choices in the qualifying, and the same in the sprint… to create a situation where you wouldn’t be disadvantaged in the race by your tire choice”

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The 100km sprint will start on Saturday, the results of which will set the grid for Sunday. Drivers finishing in the first three positions of the sprint will get points – P3 with one point, P2 with two, and P1 with three points.

What to look forward to at the British GP

A lot of opinions are being bounced around about the new format. Some say it’s necessary and won’t continue, while others think it will help boost the sport.

The managing director stated, “Even if you could argue the sprint is only the precursor to the main event, the race, I think they will be desperate to beat each other and shows who’s the fastest, and who’s the strongest.

The short distance of the event, accompanying the tire rules, may motivate the drivers to aim for the best result.

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Formula One F1 – Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Baku City Circuit, Baku, Azerbaijan – June 6, 2021 General view of the cars on the grid as the race is restarted REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

A very exhilarated Brawn concluded, “I think none of us know how the drivers will behave, how conservative they’ll be, and how much pressure they get from their teams to be conservative or to be aggressive.” 

The sprint racing this weekend is a trial process; however, it could set the tone for the future of the sport. The format is foreign to everyone – the drivers, the teams, and even the fans. One can only hope that the British GP provides for a riveting race.

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Shreya Sanjeev

122 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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