Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, Silverstone, 2021

Stroll unsure whether to expect mixed-up grid or “really boring” race

2021 British Grand Prix

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Lance Stroll is unsure what to expect from F1’s first sprint qualifying event this afternoon.

The 17-lap race will decide the starting order for tomorrow’s grand prix. Stroll admitted drivers will be eager not to compromise their grid positions, but said an unexpected line-up for Sunday’s main event is possible nonetheless.

“There’s opportunity in the sprint race to gain a few positions and maybe lose a few positions,” said Stroll. “There’s some different things [to] the weekend that we haven’t really experienced before, and I think the sprint race could create a bit of a mixed-up grid for the main race. We’ll see. It could also just be really boring and change nothing.”

Teams have a more restricted tyre allocation this weekend – 12 sets rather than 13 – since they are not expected to change tyres during the sprint qualifying race. Although they have free starting tyre choice for both sprint qualifying and the grand prix, they were only allowed to use soft compound tyres during Friday’s conventional qualifying.

Stroll said that might limit teams’ options during the main race. “Unfortunately, I think maybe with tyres and stuff in the main race, it could be a little bit more straightforward for everyone in terms of strategy.

“So that might make the race on Sunday a bit dull. But we’ll just have to wait and see. I think it’s about trying it out.”

But Kimi Raikkonen doubts the change in format will make much of a difference to the result. “Honestly, wherever you put the car starting on Sunday, I think the fastest cars will be there in the front end of the race.

“We’ve seen it over and over the years, with all kinds of qualifying, different qualifying formats.

“Sometimes when we had one lap qualifying there was rain for some cars and better weather for others.

“But come the end of the race, the fast cars will always be in the front.”

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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One comment on “Stroll unsure whether to expect mixed-up grid or “really boring” race”

  1. Aside some crash/spin/mechanical problem, I see no reason the sprint qualy would mix the grid – at least undr current regulations and car performances.
    We will probably see the same mix we had on 6th-16th position.
    Other than that, in normal racing conditions the result will be very similar to the regular qualy.
    The bad part is that in racing condition we should not expect Russel of Gasly outdriving their cars with amazing laps.
    They will probably qualify on their cars regular pace and not a exceptional flying lap pace.
    I would be open to more races in the weekend – maybe in a Supercars style – or even variable mileage for different tracks.
    I am not properly against sprints. I just dont see they will work as intended to foster competition. Yes, there will be 1h more hour of car going around, but I only see risk increasing for the Sunday race.

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