Lewis and Valtteri Finish First-Ever F1 Sprint in P2 and P3
Lewis was jumped at the start by VER and despite fighting back strongly, couldn’t make the pass and will start tomorrow’s British Grand Prix in second position.
Valtteri started on the Soft tyre in contrast to the drivers ahead of him but without making gains in the opening part of the race, switched to tyre conservation mode to complete the 100km sprint.
The Finn will start tomorrow’s Grand Prix third on the grid, the same position he achieved in Friday’s qualifying session.
Lewis added two points to his Drivers’ Championship tally, losing one point overall to VER, while Valtteri added a useful point to his championship as he continues to close the gap on the drivers above him.
The top of the Constructors’ Championship remains unchanged with Mercedes and Red Bull each adding three points to their account.
I did everything I could at the start with temperatures and clutch position but I still suffered wheelspin on the line so we’ll dig deep to understand what happened. I think it was great for F1 to try something new and even if the race wasn’t particularly exciting after the first lap for myself, there are definitely learnings we can take from today.
This season it’s been a struggle with certain elements of the car but we’ve done such a great job to get to the performance level that we had yesterday - Valtteri did a great job too and we’re definitely getting closer. The Red Bull is really difficult to follow on track and from yesterday’s high, it feels like a bit of a down but we’ll turn it around to find the positives and come out fighting tomorrow for the race.
Choosing the Soft tyres, we thought we might have a small advantage at the start but I couldn’t gain any places through the first few corners and from then on, it was important not to kill my tyres because the Softs are much more sensitive than the Mediums. I suffered some blistering but I could manage it well and I’m happy we tried something different.
It was nice to have another race today, obviously not as meaningful as tomorrow, but I hope the fans enjoyed it, even if personally I prefer qualifying to the sprint. Tomorrow will be an open race, it’s cool that we’ve got free choice of tyre compounds so we’ll see a mix of strategies which should make things interesting.
That was a pretty flat out first sprint race – it was a frustrating for Lewis to lose a point to Max this afternoon, but we saw that we had the pace to make it a very close race tomorrow. We will need to take a closer look to understand what happened at the start for Lewis – and I think if we had held the lead, we had the pace to finish in P1 as well because it wasn’t easy to follow. But it’s set up an interesting Grand Prix: there are two teams close on pace, we have Lewis and Valtteri in the mix at the front, and it looks like tyre strategy can play a big part in these temperatures as well. So we will be aiming to fight back strong in the Grand Prix proper.
It’s not ideal to have lost a place with Lewis off the start but we can take some encouragement in the car pace which is hopefully enough to put Max under pressure tomorrow.We also have two cars at the front which will open up some strategic opportunities.After the first lap there wasn’t much that we could do; on the same age tyres it was hard for Lewis to get close enough to attack and for Valtteri, he was doing a bit more management to cover for the fact he was on the Soft tyre.
Having the sprint race today does make it a little easier to plan for tomorrow as you’ve got a clear idea of everyone’s pace and how the tyres are behaving so we have a bit of work this evening to take the maximum learning from that.Our goal was to come here, to win and to close the gap in the Championship and I think from what we’ve seen over the last two days, that’s still an achievable target.