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British Grand Prix: Max Verstappen tops final practice before sprint qualifying

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Lewis HamiltonLewis Hamilton will start from the front of sprint qualifying at 16:30 BST – follow radio and text commentary online

Red Bull's Max Verstappen ended the final practice before Formula 1's new 'sprint' qualifying race fastest at the British Grand Prix.

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Verstappen was 0.375 seconds ahead of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc. The second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz was third ahead of Alpine's Esteban Ocon.

But the headline lap times were not relevant to performance in the session.

The teams were working on race pace – both for the 17-lap sprint, at 16:30 BST, and Sunday's Grand Prix.

A crowd of about 100,000 is expected at Silverstone throughout Saturday, with clear blue skies and temperatures of around 26C adding to the sense of occasion.

Sprint qualifying: F1's break with historyBritish Grand Prix radio & online coverage details

Lewis Hamilton, eighth fastest in this session, starts the 'sprint' race from pole position, ahead of title rival Max Verstappen's Red Bull.

Hamilton has said he "needs to win both races" this weekend in an attempt to close the 32-point championship lead Verstappen has built up with four wins in the past five races.

There are three championship points for the winner of the 'sprint', with second and third getting two and one respectively.

As the teams do not reveal the fuel loads, it was impossible to compare across rival outfits in terms of race pace in this final session, but the hour of running did suggest that choosing the starting tyre for the 'sprint' might be harder than teams initially thought.

The expectation was that the medium tyre would be the favoured one for the sprint, which will feature no planned pit stops.

But when Leclerc and Sainz did simultaneous runs on the medium and soft tyres, they set average lap times that were almost exactly the same.

The sprint has been billed by F1 as a flat-out charge, but the drivers are well aware that they will have to manage tyres in the same way as in a Grand Prix.

Verstappen told BBC Sport: "It is one third of a race distance so we all stick a tyre on that will last to the end. You cannot go flat out on any tyre for 100km, so you still have to save otherwise the tyres will light up. So there is never going to be a flat-out race at the moment.

"What is very important is lap one, lap two. People are going to fight and try and get a position, and then if you have the same tyres on, things will stabilise because it basically works like a first stint of a race. You won't see people pushing, sliding, locking up all the time.

"We have to wait and see how it turns out but I don't expect every lap people will be changing position."

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Comment posted by Lirrix, today at 13:47Lirrix

13:47The more laps of actual racing that the paying fans get to see over the weekend, the better.

The drivers have just got to hope they dont get tonked by a last of the late brakers having a lunge and start the main race at the back.

I cant see that much overtaking happening in either race.

I hope to be proved wrong.

My money is on Gasly for a points finish00R

Comment posted by Riquelme, today at 13:46Riquelme

13:46″Sprint” is just a marketing term to sell this cos like ppl have alluded to, its just an extension of the race itself broken up by a red flag on lap 17

Willing to give it a go but only proper way to shake it up is reverse grid which Mercedes have vetoed.. quite rightly so but it begs the ULTIMATE question: why/how is a competitor able to influence the rules themselves? Major conflict of interest21I

Reply posted by Irons45, today at 13:48Irons45

13:48to Riquelme"”Sprint” is just a marketing term to sell this cos like ppl have alluded to, its just an extension of the race itself broken up by a red flag on lap 17Willing to give it a go but only proper way to shake it up is reverse grid which Mercedes have vetoed.. quite rightly so but it begs the ULTIMATE question: why/how is a competitor able to influence the rules themselves? Major conflict of interest"Irons45 replied: Reversing the grid is both dangerous and stupid.
1 if they did try the faster cars would be at the back and that’s dangerous at the start
2 why would the drivers try to go the fastest to get put at the back00B

Comment posted by Bob Corkhill, today at 13:45Bob Corkhill

13:45Wonderful news. Go Max Verstappen!

If Hamilton wins – it’s “he’s simply a great driver, nothing to do with the car”.

If he loses, it’s “the car is not fast enough”.

You have to smile.45W

Reply posted by whereami, today at 13:47whereami

13:47to Bob Corkhill"Wonderful news. Go Max Verstappen!If Hamilton wins – it’s “he’s simply a great driver, nothing to do with the car”.If he loses, it’s “the car is not fast enough”. You have to smile."whereami replied: very original….00R

Comment posted by Rapha Elle, today at 13:43Rapha Elle

13:43Come on Lewis, you’re the best driver in the world and of all time. We know you’re up against it, but show them why you rightfully claim that title.14R

Reply posted by r83allsop, today at 13:46r83allsop

13:46to Rapha Elle"Come on Lewis, you’re the best driver in the world and of all time. We know you’re up against it, but show them why you rightfully claim that title."r83allsop replied: Who cares ..F1 is not a sport or even close to it. No pauper will ever play this sport03T

Comment posted by that swashbuckling polander of garwolin, today at 13:40that swashbuckling polander of garwolin

13:40Yes!!!! Anyone but Hamilton.811R

Reply posted by Rapha Elle, today at 13:44Rapha Elle

13:44to that swashbuckling polander of garwolin"Yes!!!! Anyone but Hamilton."Rapha Elle replied: Dry your eyes02S

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Comment posted by STEVO, today at 13:40STEVO

13:40This will be a procession, however Max hopefully will keep the LH fans quiet.38B

Reply posted by BenRinnes, today at 13:43BenRinnes

13:43to STEVO"This will be a procession, however Max hopefully will keep the LH fans quiet."BenRinnes replied: I’d rather George do it. Cannot stand MV11More replies (2)downB

Comment posted by beebl3brox, today at 13:39beebl3brox

13:39It’s all a bit WWF these days, difficult to suspend disbelief for a lot of it.62K

Comment posted by kevirl, today at 13:38kevirl

13:38It’s the car again!! Yesterday was the driver but it’s definitely the car today……52G

Reply posted by GazR, today at 13:43GazR

13:43to kevirl"It’s the car again!! Yesterday was the driver but it’s definitely the car today……"GazR replied: Haha so true! Mercedes was good in the cooler weather last night! Unfortunately for Hamilton the race isn’t at night….
If you compare all 4 drivers it’s clear to see Max is the standout driver but that goes against the commentators or journalists agenda.
Stick Max in the Merc and Hamilton would leave F1 within months!34More replies (1)downI

Comment posted by Ian, today at 13:37Ian

13:37We love a bit of vroom vroom 🚗10K

Comment posted by ken, today at 13:36ken

13:36Ok but what happens if there are crashes10M

Comment posted by Mark Arnold, today at 13:35Mark Arnold

13:35Sprint Race Format = T20, the main race = Test Match. The sprint race is for the zero attention span generations, the main race for those who have the ability to watch a more serious challenge.42F

Reply posted by Fred, today at 13:41Fred

13:41to Mark Arnold"Sprint Race Format = T20, the main race = Test Match. The sprint race is for the zero attention span generations, the main race for those who have the ability to watch a more serious challenge."Fred replied: It’s effectively one long race with a red flag and 24 hour delay after 17 laps.10More replies (3)downB

Comment posted by Brass Eye, today at 13:35Brass Eye

13:35My car engineers are better than your car engineers.32S

Reply posted by steveblackcat, today at 13:37steveblackcat

13:37to Brass Eye"My car engineers are better than your car engineers."steveblackcat replied: But is your driver Ayrton or Pastor?10More replies (2)downD

Comment posted by Dolphin, today at 13:33Dolphin

13:33Qualifying on a Friday really worked for me.

Many people will be out and about at the traditional Saturday slot now we are reopening.

Come on Max.64T

Comment posted by taylor01pe, today at 13:33taylor01pe

13:33So let me get this straight. There’s a sprint race to decide position for sprint qualifying which decides position for the starting grid? Is that right? Anyway, maybe a shakeup will work in favour of Hamilton as the current format is not working for him or mercedes this season. I wonder how much the car setup will differ and also how strategies will change. Look forward to finding out!33B

Reply posted by BBC123, today at 13:37BBC123

13:37to taylor01pe"So let me get this straight. There’s a sprint race to decide position for sprint qualifying which decides position for the starting grid? Is that right? Anyway, maybe a shakeup will work in favour of Hamilton as the current format is not working for him or mercedes this season. I wonder how much the car setup will differ and also how strategies will change. Look forward to finding out!"BBC123 replied: Not quite. There’s a standard qualifying session to determine the line-up for a sprint race, the results of which determine the starting order for the main race.40More replies (4)downG

Comment posted by Grommy, today at 13:33Grommy

13:33What’s with all sprint stuff? I havnt watched F1 for a long time and it seems they are just messing around with the sport now. Too many rules and changing the points. Stick to qualifying and the race!20S

Reply posted by steveblackcat, today at 13:36steveblackcat

13:36to Grommy"What’s with all sprint stuff? I havnt watched F1 for a long time and it seems they are just messing around with the sport now. Too many rules and changing the points. Stick to qualifying and the race!"steveblackcat replied: It’s just a test to see if it brings any benefits to the race weekend. And it seems having qualy on Friday instead of a second practice session spices things up a bit.00More replies (2)downL

Comment posted by lenny_123, today at 13:32lenny_123

13:32Unlike many, I’ve seen this sprint race format in other formulas and am prepared to give it a fair go.52D

Reply posted by Dazsw, today at 13:38Dazsw

13:38to lenny_123"Unlike many, I’ve seen this sprint race format in other formulas and am prepared to give it a fair go."Dazsw replied: It’s always good to try new stuff, may work and may not, but people are complaining before it’s even happened, need to wait and see how it goes :)20More replies (1)downR

Comment posted by Renegade2021, today at 13:30Renegade2021

13:30Good! Go max! 🤫🤫🤫🤫🤫🤫🤫22Back to topunknown
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