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Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton casts verdict on new F1 Sprint: Practice session with points

Formula 1 confirmed changes to the sport's Sprint format ahead of this weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton offering his opinion on the tweaks.

Lewis Hamilton believes F1's new format for sprint weekends has turned Saturday's 100km race into a 'practice session with points'.

The F1 Commission and World Motor Sport Council ratified changes to the format ahead of this weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix that see a new qualifying session introduced in place of Saturday morning's second practice hour, creating a Sprint event entirely separated from Sunday's main event.

With the danger of compromising starting position for the Grand Prix now removed, it is expected drivers will now take more of a risk to secure the maximum points from the Sprint, where the top eight will score.

But asked if mindsets will change because of the new format, Hamilton told media, including RacingNews365.com: "I don't think it makes a lot of difference now.

"Before, where you finished was where you qualified for the race. Now it is a practice session but there are points at the end of it.

"I don't think we will be going more out [aggressive] than we have done in the past. What I do think - and I think it is great that we are doing these different format weekends - but there is a lot of time where we can do more running and we always talk about what's the best in terms of the environment... I don't know if it would be better for the fans but there is a huge break between these sessions and we could be doing more running, if that was better for the fans.

"Maybe we can look into that for the future."

All in the same boat

Mercedes has struggled with finding an optimum set-up for its car since F1 introduced the new era of technical regulations last season, with Hamilton and teammate George Russell often experimenting across the traditional three practice sessions in order to find a working window.

But with parc fermé enforced after just one practice session, Hamilton is wary of the challenge presented by the format changes.

On whether he welcomed the alterations, the seven-time World Champion replied: "Absolutely. I think it is going to be tough for everybody, we are all in the same boat but what a track to be able to do it at, where overtaking is possible, we always have mostly the best races here.

"It is definitely difficult to have one practice session where you have 20 laps and then straight away, you are into qualifying. But it is what we are here to do, right?"

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F1 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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