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What is F1’s sprint qualifying race?

In a bid to spice up the show, F1 is trialling a new weekend format at three races this year, starting with the British GP. The highlight of the overhaul is a new 100km sprint race scheduled on Saturday evening that will determine the starting order for the grand prix on Sunday.

The original qualifying has been retained but pushed forward to Friday, essentially replacing the second one-hour practice session.

Sprint races are common in other racing categories including Formula 1’s own support series Formula 2 and Formula 3. However, the chief difference is that the F1’s sprint race is being held solely to decide the grid for the main race, with the winner officially granted pole position in the history books.

The race distance is set at 100km or 17 laps of the Silverstone circuit, with the drivers given a free choice of tyres. Pitstops are not mandatory to enable a flat-out race from start to finish.

Should the trials prove to be a success, F1 will run sprint qualifying races more often next year – although it won’t feature on every grand prix weekend. 

The sprint race weekend format will be:

  • Friday morning – 60-minute Free Practice 1
  • Friday afternoon – Q1, Q2, Q3 sessions to order the starting grid for the sprint race qualifying
  • Saturday morning – 60-minute Free Practice 2
  • Saturday afternoon – 100km sprint race qualifying
  • Sunday – Full grand prix race

A more in-depth explanation of F1’s sprint race format can be found here.

2021 British GP timetable:

Session

GMT

BST

CEST

ET

PT

AEST

JST

IST

FP1

13:30

14:30

15:30

09:30

06:30

23:30

22:30

19:00

Qualifying 17:00

18:00

19:00

13:00

10:00

03:00¹

02:00¹

22:30

FP2

11:00

12:00

13:00

07:00

04:00

21:00

20:00

16:30

Sprint

15:30

16:30

17:30

11:30

08:30

01:30¹

00:30¹

21:00

Race 

14:00

15:00

16:00

10:00

07:00

00:00¹

23:00

19:30

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

The sprint qualifying race for the British GP will kick off at 4.30pm local time on Saturday, July 17 and is expected to last roughly 30 minutes – barring any red flags or prolonged interruptions.

  • Date: Saturday, July 17, 2021 
  • Start time: 15:30 GMT / 16:30 BST / 17:30 CEST / 17:30 SAT / 18:30 EAT / 11:30 ET / 08:30 PT / 01:30¹ AEST / 00:30¹ JST / 21:00 IST

Can’t find your country or region in the list? Check the Formula 1 schedule page for the broadcast times in your local timezone.

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

The Silverstone sprint race will run to 17 laps. As a rule, all sprint races must last 100km, with the lap count decided accordingly. 

For comparison, a full-distance grand prix is held over 305-310km.

Do points get awarded for the sprint qualifying races?

Yes, F1 will offer points for top finishers in the sprint race. The winner will take home three points, the second-placed driver will get two points, and the third-placed finisher will be awarded a single point.

This means that a maximum of 29 points will be up for grabs for drivers across the weekend, including 25 for the win, three for pole position and the bonus point for the fastest lap in the grand prix.

How can I watch the British GP sprint qualifying race?

Formula 1 is broadcast live in nearly every country around the world. 

Europe

  • Austria – Servus TV / ORF
  • Belgium – RTBF
  • Denmark – TV3 / TV3 Sport / Viasat
  • Finland – MTV
  • France – Canal+
  • Germany – Sky
  • Hungary – M4
  • Italy – Sky
  • Netherlands – Ziggo
  • Poland – Eleven Sports
  • Portugal – Eleven Sports
  • Spain – Movistar / DAZN
  • Sweden – Viasat
  • Switzerland – SRF / RSI / RTS
  • UK – Sky Sports F1

Americas

  • USA – ESPN
  • Canada – RDS / TSN / Discovery Velocity
  • Latin America – Fox Sports / ESPN

Asia

  • China – CCTV / Tencent / Guangdong TV
  • India – Star Sports
  • Japan – Fuji Television
  • Russia – Match TV
  • Turkey – S Sport
  • Rest of Asia – Fox Sports

Oceania

  • Australia – Fox Sports / Network 10
  • New Zealand – Spark Sports

Africa

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

The current weather forecast suggests a sunny and cloudy afternoon at Silverstone on Saturday, with the temperature expected to be around 24C for the start of the sprint race.



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