Red Bull took a win in Formula One’s first ever sprint qualifying event as Max Verstappen finished first at the British Grand Prix.
Played out to a large crowd at Silverstone, the event saw Formula One’s first sprint qualifying experiment. It had previously seen qualifying taking place on Friday, while the Saturday event would see the grid order for Sunday’s full British Grand Prix race organised as a mini-race held to one third distance, which worked out at 17 laps.
Verstappen had qualified second in the original Friday qualifying after being narrowly pipped to top by his championship rival Lewis Hamilton. But the Dutchman overtook first place Lewis Hamilton more or less straight away, and was able to pull out a gap to win the event.
The result means he wins 3 extra points towards the Driver’s Championship to go with a pole position start, as Milton Keynes-based Red Bull seek to win at Silverstone for the second year in a row after winning the second of Silverstone’s two Formula One raceslast year.
His Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez had a tougher afternoon from fifth place on the grid, as a major spin while fighting McLaren’s Lando Norris saw him fall to the back of the grid, with the car retired before the end of the race. It means that the Mexican will start the full British Grand Prix from 20th.
Speaking after the race, Verstappen said, “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.”
As for Perez, he apologised to the team for the error.
He said, “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.