Max Verstappen makes subtle dig at Lewis Hamilton in April
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Max Verstappen has accused F1 bosses of undermining the ‘special’ feeling of a Grand Prix weekend by introducing sprint races. The concept was introduced in the 2021 season, with three of the Saturday events taking place, whilst two have already taken place this year.
Verstappen himself won in Emilia Romagna to secure pole, and repeated the feat by also taking the extra eight points in Austria. There is one more Saturday dash planned in this campaign, at the Brazilan Grand Prix in November.
There were provisions in place to expand from three events per year to six in 2023, and although the teams were in favour of the move, the FIA voted against it in July. F1 fans seemed in favour of the rejection, with the reaction to the sprint races having been lukewarm at best so far.
But F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali threw another spanner in the works when he said his ideal scenario would be for drivers to have something to compete for in every session after Friday’s first practice. That would potentially mean the extra race at every single Grand Prix weekend.
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Asked if he was in favour of the prospect of sprint races at every race weekend, Verstappen was blunt: “I would not enjoy it. I just don’t like it,” he said, via gpfans. “That Sunday emotion and feeling should be special, that’s the only time you race. That’s how I grew up racing anyway. Sunday is the day to race.”
And the 24-year-old further argued that the concept made very little difference anyway: “So far, from the sprint races we have had, not a lot has drastically changed in terms of results,” he continued. “More or less everyone starts on the same tyre and that’s where you finish because you are scared to have a crash or whatever because then you start at the back for the main race where the big points are.”
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As it stands, eight points are available for a sprint race winner, seven for the runner-up, six for third place and so on, with the eighth finisher getting a solitary point. Not that Verstappen is likely to need anything extra by the time he reaches Sao Paulo.
Following his win in Monza, the reigning world champion lies 116 points ahead of Charles Leclerc, and could even wrap up the title in Singapore on October 2. Red Bull are also 139 points in the Constructors’ standings.
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