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Hill expects Sprint Qualifying fights between driver and team

Damon Hill believes that the Saturday Sprint Qualifying race will result in arguments between drivers and their teams over how to approach the race.

1996 Formula 1 World Champion Damon Hill believes there could be some arguments between drivers and their teams over how to approach the Sprint Qualifying race on Saturday. With the 17 lap Saturday race used to determine the starting grid for Sunday's Grand Prix, there is a trade-off to be had between attack and defence. The expected outcome is that the race could see drivers be quite conservative, but Hill believes a racers instinct will see them choose to fight, while their teams would prefer them to think more about the Grand Prix. He reckons some may choose to start on the soft tyre. "I think the guys further down may well do because if you can grab a few places at the start, then you might get to hang on to those for the rest," Hill told Sky Sports F1. "Don't forget, this is not like a normal race, it doesn't have a strategy beyond 17 laps. That's it. You don't need to think about the long term there. So, I think it'd be people taking chances." "The trouble is, at the start, how aggressive do you want to be? It's a little bit like if you're playing [golf], do you play a half a seven iron into the green, or do you go for the full shot with an eight iron, and that's the thing. If you've go for the half shot, you're more likely to duff it." Pirelli's Mario Isola also believes that some drivers may attempt the Sprint Qualifying on the soft tyre, given that the teams are given free choice of tyre for the 17 lap, 30 minute race. Hill reckons that this will prove to be the crucial bit of decision making for drivers to figure out for the race. "It's a great test session for the race, it's about the same time of day, track temperature wise and everything, so they've got a lot in and I was surprised how many laps they did actually do," he said. "I think this is it. This is something new for them but then don't forget this could be a bit like karting for them, they used to do heats, and you have to get through the heat and the heats determined your grip position. "So I think they used to this, they're pretty adaptable and they will use their instincts to work it out. "I think it's going to be a fight between the driver and the team, because I think the drivers don't want to have their style cramped at all by too much strategy thinking."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Spanish Grand Prix