Lewis Hamilton believes Formula 1’s first sprint race at next week’s British Grand Prix won’t be “too exciting”, predicting it to be a “train”.
F1 will hold a 100km sprint race on Saturday at Silverstone in place of the regular qualifying session in the first trial of a new weekend format.
Qualifying will continue to be part of the weekend schedule but will be run on Friday instead, which will determine the grid order for the sprint race.
The results from the sprint race will then decide the starting order for Sunday’s main grand prix. This concept is set to be used at two other rounds later in the season, with a view to it being part of an F1 weekend on a more regular basis should it prove a success.
But when asked what his hopes were for F1’s debut sprint race, seven-time world champion Hamilton wasn’t convinced the new format would deliver exciting on-track racing.
“Not particularly,” said Hamilton, as quoted by Motorsport.com. “It’s going to be a train, probably. Hopefully there’ll be some overtaking, but it most likely won’t be too exciting.”
Details of the sprint race were confirmed by the World Motor Sport Council on Thursday, with the event to run for 17 laps and hand out points to the top three drivers.
FIA race director Michael Masi recently revealed the winner of the sprint race would officially be declared as pole-sitter for the event, not the fastest driver in qualifying.
Hamilton is the holder of the most pole positions in F1, scoring his 100th earlier this year, but remained coy over the rule change.
“I don’t really have an opinion about it,” Hamilton said.
“We’ll wait and see. There’s no point judging it before we even get into it. It doesn’t matter.”
AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly said he would wait until F1 has trialled the format at three different circuit’s before judging whether sprint races should become a permanent fixture at a race weekend.
“I think it’s fair to wait all three weekends, and if there are any positives from it and people like it, then why not keep it in the future?” Gasly said.
“But I think we have to review after all three weekends. What does it bring? Does it really make it more exciting? Because I think that’s the whole point of it.
“If it does, then why not? But if it doesn’t, then it’s important to keep the format that we have, which I think is good.
“I enjoy the qualifying on Saturday and having only one single race during the weekend.”