Lewis Hamilton was jumped at the start of the inaugural F1 Sprint Qualifying Race by Max Verstappen and despite fighting back strongly, couldn’t make the pass and will start tomorrow’s British Grand Prix in second position.
Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas started on the Soft tyre in contrast to the drivers ahead of him but without making gains in the opening part of the race, switched to tyre conservation mode to complete the 100km sprint.
The top of the Constructors’ Championship remains unchanged with Mercedes and Red Bull each adding three points to their account.
Lewis Hamilton Settles For Second
After a slow start that saw him passed by Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton fought to re-take the lead, but ultimately had to settle for second ahead of tomorrow’s main race.
‘I did everything I could at the start with temperatures and clutch position but I still suffered wheelspin on the line so we’ll dig deep to understand what happened. I think it was great for F1 to try something new and even if the race wasn’t particularly exciting after the first lap for myself, there are definitely learnings we can take from today.
‘This season it’s been a struggle with certain elements of the car but we’ve done such a great job to get to the performance level that we had yesterday – Valtteri did a great job too and we’re definitely getting closer. The Red Bull is really difficult to follow on track and from yesterday’s high, it feels like a bit of a down but we’ll turn it around to find the positives and come out fighting tomorrow for the race,’ said Hamilton.
Uneventful Sprint Race For Valtteri Bottas
Valtteri Bottas chose the soft tyres to try and gain an advantage at the start, but it wasn’t to be, as the Finn who started in third also finished there.
‘Choosing the Soft tyres, we thought we might have a small advantage at the start but I couldn’t gain any places through the first few corners and from then on, it was important not to kill my tyres because the Softs are much more sensitive than the Mediums. I suffered some blistering but I could manage it well and I’m happy we tried something different.
‘It was nice to have another race today, obviously not as meaningful as tomorrow, but I hope the fans enjoyed it, even if personally I prefer qualifying to the sprint. Tomorrow will be an open race, it’s cool that we’ve got free choice of tyre compounds so we’ll see a mix of strategies which should make things interesting,’ added Bottas.
All To Play For Tomorrow
Although he was disappointed his driver lost a point in the title fight, Toto Wolff was pleased to see his team match the pace of Red Bull, and is confident going into Sunday.
‘That was a pretty flat out first sprint race – it was a frustrating for Lewis to lose a point to Max this afternoon, but we saw that we had the pace to make it a very close race tomorrow. We will need to take a closer look to understand what happened at the start for Lewis – and I think if we had held the lead, we had the pace to finish in P1 as well because it wasn’t easy to follow. But it’s set up an interesting Grand Prix: there are two teams close on pace, we have Lewis and Valtteri in the mix at the front, and it looks like tyre strategy can play a big part in these temperatures as well. So we will be aiming to fight back strong in the Grand Prix proper,’ concluded Wolff.