F1 Sprint, now in its third season, is a 100km race to the finish line. Unless someone is unfortunate enough to need to dive in for repairs, there are no pit stops. The winner receives eight points, with P8 receiving one. Drivers and teams both earn points towards their respective championships. This is where things have slightly changed for 2023. Last year, qualifying determined the grid for F1 Sprint, and the outcome of that race determined the grid for Sunday’s main event. There will be two qualifying sessions in 2023. The first session will still be held on Friday, but it will determine the grid for Sunday.
On Saturday morning, a second, shorter qualifying session will replace the second one-hour practise session and set the grid for the Sprint.
This will be referred to as the Sprint Shootout. In Q1, drivers will have time for two runs, which may be separated by a pit stop. Because the time allotted in Q2 and Q3 is shorter, two timed laps are still possible – but they won’t have time to stop for new tyres. Because Saturday is now essentially a stand-alone event, with the Sprint Shootout and F1 Sprint having no bearing on the Grand Prix, a problem or incident in the Sprint does not jeopardise the entire weekend, which should encourage drivers to push harder in the Sprint.
While some drivers and teams have voiced their dissatisfaction with the Sprint, there is absolutely no doubt that the event is an utterly chaotic treat for motorsport fans. The drama, the uncertainty and the thrills seem to have multiplied by two during these weekends and perhaps it won’t be long until Formula One makes the Sprint a permanent weekend event, doing away with two of the three practice sessions. But who are the most successful drivers in this format? Over the past three years, only three drivers have ever stood on the top step of the podium in F1 Sprints: Max Verstappen, Valterri Bottas and George Russell. Let’s take a look at how each has fared.
Max Verstappen – 3 wins
The reigning world champion and the most skillful man on the grid, Max Verstappen has won three Formula One sprint races so far in his career. The first victory came at arch rival Lewis Hamilton’s home track, Silverstone, at the 2021 British Grand Prix. The two were locked in an intense title fight that season and it was the Dutchman who won the 100 km dash. 2022 was a more comfortable season in terms of the championship for Verstappen as he was in the form of his life. That year, he won two sprint races: the Emilia Romagna GP sprint and the Austrian GP sprint.
Valterri Bottas – 2 wins
Not Lewis Hamilton, but the second driver at Mercedes was the one who emerged victorious in two sprint races for the Silver Arrows. Bottas might have never won a world championship in his career but the flying Finn is one of the most consistent drivers on the grid and a delightful teammate for anyone to work with. Bottas was the hero for Mercedes in sprint races in 2021 as he won the Italian GP sprint and Sao Paolo GP sprint .
George Russell – 1 win
The last man on the list and the most recent winner of a Formula One sprint race is Mercedes man George Russell. The Brit won the 2022 Sao Paolo GP sprint which saw him put in one of the best performances of his career, and he will be hoping for more of the same in 2023.
F1 sprint winners
|2021 British GP, 2022 Emilia Romagna GP, 2022 Austrian GP
|2021 Italian GP, 2021 Sao Paolo GP
|2022 Sao Paolo GP