Max Verstappen Claims Having a Sprint Race During the Chinese Grand Prix “Isn’t the Smartest Thing to Do”

Max Verstappen Claims Having a Sprint Race During the Chinese Grand Prix ”Isn’t the Smartest Thing to Do”
Credits: IMAGO / Michael Potts

F1 heads to Shanghai up next for the Chinese GP, and the race weekend is already under scrutiny by multiple drivers, including Max Verstappen. The race in Shanghai is set to be the first Sprint race weekend of the season and according to the Red Bull driver, it certainly wasn’t “the smartest thing to do”.

“Purely from a driving and performance perspective of the sport, I think it’s not the smartest thing to do,” said Verstappen to Autosport. “It’s not great to do that because when you have been away from a track for quite a while, I think you never know what you’re going to experience, so it would have been better to have a normal race weekend there.”

Verstappen‘s concern makes sense given the track will return to the calendar for the first time since 2019. Therefore, it would see multiple drivers such as Logan Sargeant, Oscar Piastri, Yuki Tsunoda, and home hero Zhou Guanyu race there for the first time in their F1 career.

Furthermore, the China weekend will have just one Free Practice session before the Sprint race shootout on Friday. The Sprint race and Grand Prix qualifying will take place on Saturday, followed by the main race on Sunday.

This leaves the teams and drivers little time to fine-tune their cars and test the track, where they have not been in the past four years. Notably, Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez also brought up the same concern as Verstappen.

Max Verstappen gets Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz’s support

Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz echoed Max Verstappen in criticizing the Chinese GP being a sprint race weekend. Perez commented that the teams might find it hard on the preparation side of things.

Similarly, Sainz too shared his concern and stated that it was not wise to put the Sprint in China after four years of gap. “We also heard there’s been resurfacing going on. Maybe for you guys at home, it’s exciting, but for engineers and drivers, in my opinion, we shouldn’t take the risk and have a normal weekend, asserted the Ferrari driver.

Interestingly, Verstappen feels that the F1 and FIA took this gamble to bring more excitement after fans and experts have lately been calling the sport a bit boring.

Nevertheless, Max Verstappen will look to continue his dominance in China. Yet to win at the Shanghai International Circuit, the Dutchman may break that duck and extend his championship lead further.

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