F1 British GP sprint qualifying race: What time is it, how to watch it & more

The entire race weekend format has been shaken up to accommodate the new format, which will be used at three grands prix this season as an initial trial, with the first taking place at the British GP.

What is F1’s sprint qualifying race?

F1’s sprint qualifying is essentially a shortened version of a normal race, run over a shorter 100km distance and with no mandatory pitstops, compared to F1’s usual 305km grand prix distance (with the exception of the Monaco GP). Here’s a full explanation on how F1’s sprint qualifying race will work

Sprint races are used in many other series to spice up the action, including in F1’s feeder series Formula 2, albeit with variants of its own. For example, in F2 the sprint race is 120km and the feature race covers 170km, though are usually no less exciting.

F1’s sprint event on Saturday afternoon will be a straightforward 100km race, which tallies up to 17 laps at Silverstone, with the finishing order setting the final grid for the grand prix on Sunday. The race is expected to last around 30 minutes, ‘timed out’ after 60 minutes in total and if the session is red-flagged the maximum total time of the session will be 90 minutes.

The starting order for the sprint event will be decided by qualifying, run in the traditional Q1, Q2 and Q3 format, and will be held on Friday evening at 6pm BST. The only major change will be the drivers will only use soft tyres for the session.

Two practice sessions will also be run at the British GP, one before qualifying on Friday afternoon (2.30pm-3.30pm BST) and one on Saturday afternoon (12pm-1pm BST) before the sprint qualifying race later that afternoon.

Drivers will also have a free choice of tyres for the sprint race with Pirelli providing a soft, medium and hard (at Silverstone this will be the hardest three options in its range: C1, C2 and C3) as well as intermediate and wet weather tyres if needed.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, celebrates with his fans

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, celebrates with his fans

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

2021 British GP timetable:

Friday 16th July 2021

Free Practice 1: 2:30pm-3:30pm BST

Qualifying: 6:00pm-7:00pm BST

Saturday 17th July 2021

Free Practice 2: 12:00pm-1:00pm BST

Sprint Qualifying Race: 4:30pm-5:00pm BST

Sunday 18th July 2021

Race: 3:00pm BST

What time does the sprint qualifying race start at the British GP?

The sprint qualifying race for the British GP starts at 4.30pm BST on Saturday 17th July and is expected to last 30 minutes.

Date: Saturday 17th July 2021

Start time: 4.30pm local time – 4.30pm BST

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG W10

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG W10

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

How many laps will the sprint qualifying race be at the British GP?

17 laps – Silverstone With the F1 sprint qualifying races covering 100km, it adds up to 17 laps of Silverstone’s 5.891km grand prix circuit layout. Each F1 sprint qualifying race will run for 100km with the amount of laps dependent to circuit length, so Monza’s 5.793km will see its F1 sprint qualifying race complete 18 laps.

Do points get awarded for the sprint qualifying races?

F1 world championship points will also be up for grabs in the F1 sprint qualifying race. The winner will claim three points, with the runner-up taking two points and third place gaining one point. There will be no bonus point for the fastest lap.

In Sunday’s main event at the British GP, the regular points scoring system will remain in place for both the drivers’ and constructors’ world championships, including the bonus point for fastest lap for a driver finishing inside the top 10.

How can I watch the British GP sprint qualifying race?

In the United Kingdom every F1 practice, qualifying and race is broadcast live on Sky Sports F1, with the British GP sprint qualifying race coverage starting at 3.40pm BST.

  • Channel: Sky Sports F1
  • Start time: 3:40pm BST

Channel 4 will also be showing the entire British GP weekend live, including the inaugural F1 sprint qualifying race, with coverage of the new event starting at 3:45pm BST.

  • Channel: Channel 4
  • Start time: 3:45pm BST

Autosport will be running a live text coverage here

The Union flag flies over the BRDC club house

The Union flag flies over the BRDC club house

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

When can I watch the highlights of the British GP sprint qualifying race?

In the United Kingdom Channel 4 is also broadcasting highlights for the British GP sprint qualifying race at 11:20pm BST on Saturday. The full programme will run for 65 minutes, covering both qualifying, the sprint qualifying race and wrapping up the major talking points of the race weekend so far.

For the entire 2021 F1 season, Channel 4 will broadcast highlights of every qualifying and race on the Saturday and Sunday of each event, while also showing the British GP live. The highlights will also be available on Channel 4’s on demand catch up services.

  • Channel: Channel 4
  • Start time: 11:20pm BST

Will the British GP sprint qualifying race be on the radio?

Live radio coverage of every practice, qualifying and race for the 2021 F1 season will be available on the BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC 5 Live Sports Extra or via the BBC Sport website.

Coverage of the British GP sprint qualifying race will start at 4:00pm BST on the BBC Sport website.

What’s the weather forecast for the British GP sprint qualifying race?

Sunny and cloudy conditions are forecast for Saturday afternoon at Silverstone, with a very low chance of rain. Temperatures are set to be 23 degrees Celsius at the start of the first sprint qualifying race.

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