Lewis Hamilton has admitted he ‘wasn’t too happy’ with the FIA for making a U-turn and giving drivers one less day off during a race week. F1 race weekends were set to compress from four to three days in 2022, but the governing body reverted back to the old formula, which didn’t impress the seven-time world champion.
Earlier this year media days moved from Thursday to Friday morning, with the first two practice sessions happening later in the day. But four-day race weekends returned halfway through the campaign, and Hamilton has spoken out about his annoyance.
When discussing the increase from three to six sprint races from next season, Hamilton was all for the change to freshen things up after being let down by the FIA. But he insisted the sprints must take place on tracks that encourage overtaking to create opportunities.
He said: “We’ve had the same Thursday to Sunday for god knows how long. It was supposed to be a three-day weekend this year, and then they changed it back to four days, which I wasn’t too happy about. The races are not always the greatest.
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“It does create a few more options, but sometimes there’s no overtaking, so we should hopefully learn from the races where there’s been no overtaking in the sprint races. Putting them in places that create a lot of opportunity, like Brazil or somewhere like Baku, are going to be the best places for overtaking. I’m not against it. As long as they’re selective of where they put it.”
The FIA approved the expansion of the sprint race format from 2023 at the latest World Motor Sport Council meeting in September. But while F1 teams have backed the change, Max Verstappen is one driver who has been open about his disapproval.
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The reigning world champion has made it abundantly clear that he is against sprint races due to drivers’ lack of risk-taking compared to Sunday’s GP. As a result, the Red Bull star believes sprints ‘aren’t really races’.
“Every time I do these [sprint] races, it’s about ‘don’t get damage, make sure you stay in the top three’. For me, that’s not really a race because you go into the main race, and you know there are way more points available anyway. You just risk a bit more there,” Verstappen explained.