George Russell Lists Major Problems With F1’s Sprint Qualifying Format

Published 09/11/2021, 1:03 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 10, 2021 Williams’ George Russell arrives at the circuit REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini


George Russell had a rather complicated Saturday afternoon at Monza, having to spend most of the sprint race behind his teammate, Nicholas Latifi. The Briton suffered significant damage to the right side of his front wing early on in the race and had to carry the burden throughout the session.

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Ultimately, Russell came home in P15 behind the Canadian. Hence, this officially ends Russell’s dominant run against his teammates. For the first time in 51 starts, Russell has been out-qualified by his own Williams teammate.

Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 10, 2021 Williams’ George Russell during qualifying REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

But, he doesn’t seem to mind that. Instead, there is something that is irking the future Mercedes driver regarding the concept of the sprint race. Russell lauded F1 for thinking out-of-the-box and managing to construct an interesting race weekend, with actions on all three days.

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However, he felt that sprint races are too short to cause issues to one’s car. By the time the tires start to degrade, the chequered flags pop out. And until then, all of the 20 drivers would be pushing the car to its limit, making overtaking a near-impossible task.

What did George Russell say?

During the post-qualifying interview, Russell demanded that F1 must review the approach behind sprint events in a bid to induce more actions and opportunities for the drivers.

It was a tricky race, we just had a little problem that we were struggling with from the beginning. But, yeah, I don’t know, I think, to be honest about the sprint race, I think it’s great we have action on each day,” he said during the post-sprint interview.

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But, for me, it’s a little bit too short and everybody’s just pushing flat-out every lap and the cars are so close. There’s no big enough difference between the car in front. And you only feel this when you have a different strategy or the tires are getting a bit older or a bit newer than the car ahead. 

Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 11, 2021 Williams’ George Russell during the sprint qualifying REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

And it probably just isn’t long enough to give you that opportunity. So, I guess we need to look back, review it,” Russell added.

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Overall, the weekend isn’t over yet, with the main race yet to come. Of course, neither of the Williams drivers have looked solid this weekend. But, who knows, there could be a surprise in store for the viewers on Sunday afternoon. Hence, the question is, can Russell manage to claim points for Williams out of the Italian Grand Prix?

Watch Story: What Are Sprint Races & Where Will They Be Held?

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Rohit Kumar

1137 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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