F1 fans make sprint race feelings clear ahead of Miami Grand Prix

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Express Sport readers have called for Grand Prix qualifying to return to Saturday on a sprint race weekend after the new format proved to be a disappointment at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The FIA made changes after consulting each of the Formula 1 teams but they have not gained the support of fans ahead of the Miami Grand Prix on Sunday.

Prior to this season, F1 sprint races would set the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix, taking place during the normal qualifying time after a separate session on Friday had set the order for the short race. However, there were changes in 2023 as the FIA moved to make the sprint a standalone event in order to increase risk-taking.

It now has its own qualifying session on Saturday morning, setting the grid for the sprint race in the afternoon. Grand Prix qualifying now takes place on Friday instead, leaving 48 hours between the grid being set and the actual race.

A poll conducted by Express Sport suggests that fans are not keen on this change and would like to see Grand Prix qualifying return to Saturday on sprint weekends. 85% of those surveyed said they preferred qualifying on Saturday with just 15% liking the switch to Friday.

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Sergio Perez claimed the win in Saturday’s sprint race, getting past pole-sitter Charles Leclerc to take first place. However, the biggest moment in the race came as George Russell collided with Max Verstappen during the opening lap leaving a gaping hole in the side of the Dutchman’s Red Bull which still managed to come home third.

The pair came to blows after the race as the reigning world champion confronted the Mercedes man, calling him a d***head for his actions.

Verstappen was fuming after the race and tore into the sprint race format in general, calling on the FIA to scrap the idea completely.

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“Just scrap the whole thing,” Verstappen exclaimed. “I think it’s just important to go back to what we have, and make sure that every team can fight for a win.

“That’s what we have to try and aim for and [not] try to implement all this kind of artificial excitement. I would say I got bored through today’s qualifying, to be honest.

“I like to have one particular qualifying where you just put everything in it, and that was yesterday, which I of course enjoy and then they have to do it again today. I’m like, ‘my god, another qualifying?’ I just don’t really enjoy that.”

The next sprint race will be in Austria in July but F1 and the FIA hold the power to make changes to the format within that time if they see fit.

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