Hamilton welcomes additional sprint weekend qualifying
By Ian Parkes
Monday 10th April, 2023 - 5:05pm
Lewis Hamilton has welcomed the proposal to add further excitement to a sprint race weekend with the inclusion of an additional qualifying session.
Following a meeting of the 10 team principals on Sunday morning ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, the wheels have been set in motion for F1 to tweak the format.
The changes will see Friday afternoon qualifying set the grid for Sunday’s grand prix, with Saturday’s second practice session to be replaced by an alternative qualifying for the sprint later that day.
The hope is the plans will be approved by the F1 Commission and the World Motorsport Council in time for the first of the six sprint weekends this year at the forthcoming round in Azerbaijan at the end of the month.
“I do think we constantly need to be evolving and assessing what we’re doing,” said Hamilton.
“I think the changes with the sprint races have been positive in some places. I’m open to changes, to continue to make it more inclusive and more engaging for the fans.
“I quite like the Friday of a sprint weekend so far, and I’d love to have more qualifying because that’s always super fun. I just think it should be different.
“Perhaps we can just apply just slightly small changes to different races, specific to those places.
“But if there’s a race where you can’t overtake like Monaco, what else can we do there to make it more exciting?”
Extra qualifying would be exciting for the fans – Russell
Hamilton’s comments are at odds with F1 rival Max Verstappen who has made clear his aversion to the latest sprint weekend proposals.
The reigning F1 champion has stated F1 would “not be worth it” if it continues to make changes as it is moving away from what he considers to be the DNA of the sport.
“I’m not a fan of it at all,” said the Red Bull driver.
“When we’re going to do all that kind of stuff, the weekend becomes even more intense and we’re already doing so many races, so I don’t think that is the right way to go at it.”
Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell, however, has also intimated the change would be welcome.
“For fans in the crowd, I think just watching cars circulating in practice, I don’t think it’s as exciting as when you have a qualifying session or a sprint race,” said Russell.
“So I think it’s exciting for us, for the teams, and for the fans.”
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