British GP: F1 Sprint makes debut as Silverstone hosts new weekend format, all live on Sky Sports F1

Formula 1 is coming home – and get ready for a race weekend like no other at Silverstone as a whole new format makes its anticipated debut.

It’s the British GP. It’s round 10 of a thrilling 2021 season. And it’s time for the first-ever F1 Sprint!

This weekend’s bumper Grand Prix sees one of the biggest changes to the weekend schedule in F1 history as for the first time, drivers will be racing on Saturday to set the grid for the showpiece race on Sunday, with fast-paced competitive action on all three days at the Home of British Motorsport, which is set to host a capacity crowd.

Sky Sports F1’s live & new-look British GP schedule

The new-look schedule, debuted by F1 in a bid to spice up the spectacle, sees the traditional qualifying hour take place at the untraditional time of Friday at 6pm. But rather than set the grid for Sunday’s race, that will instead dictate the positions for the F1 Sprint.

F1 Sprint will take place on Saturday at 4.30pm and is essentially a qualifying sprint race (hence the name), with drivers pushing their cars to the limit for a short, flat-out 100km race around the iconic Northamptonshire circuit.

That unique event in turn will set the grid for the usual Sunday race at 3pm, as Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen prepare to lock horns again for a Grand Prix that could make all the difference in the championship battle.

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Ready for a British GP like never before? Then watch all the action live on Sky Sports F1, with our weekend schedule including extensive interviews and features, bumper live shows, and expert insight from stars such as Jenson Button.

It should be a cracker.

F1’s new sprint format: The key points

  • There will be a qualifying hour and it is the usual format (Q1, Q2, Q3), but it is taking place on Friday evening rather than Saturday, and sets the grid for the F1 Sprint on Saturday. The one major change is that drivers are only allowed to use soft tyres for the session.
  • F1 Sprint is a race over 100km – around a third of the distance of usual F1 races – and there will be the least number of laps that exceed 100km. It should therefore be a 17-lap race.
  • Drivers are allowed to choose any tyre they wish, and unlike the usual Sunday races there is no compulsory pit-stop – meaning we should get wheel-to-wheel battles from start to finish.
  • In a further shake-up, the top three drivers from that race will be awarded points; three points to the winner, two points to second place and one point for third.
  • The order from F1 Sprint will then set the grid for Sunday’s British GP – which is still the main event for the weekend with the usual race format and points system (top-10 score points, 25 for winner, 18 for second etc). Drivers will be granted free tyre choice for that race.
  • There are practice sessions for the weekend, but just the two rather than the usual three. They take place on Friday before qualifying, and Saturday before F1 Sprint.

Hamilton vs Verstappen rolls onto Silverstone

The 2021 British GP will witness a unique moment in F1 history this weekend – and there is also the added bonus of an intense title battle. But it is Max Verstappen, and not home favourite Lewis Hamilton, who has all the momentum.

After sweeping the triple header with three straight victories, first-time title challenger Verstappen now holds a 32-point lead over Hamilton, who has never overcome such a big deficit before.

He will hope to find form at an event that has always treated him well, with seven-time F1 champion Hamilton a seven-time winner at Silverstone.

Hamilton should be aided by a new Mercedes upgrade package, as the world champions look to gain much-needed ground on Red Bull.

Verstappen, meanwhile, is aiming for his first British GP victory and his sixth of the season.

The battles further down the grid have also been thrilling this year, with Lando Norris the pick of the other drivers and looking to delight the bumper crowd this weekend.

McLaren’s young British driver is fourth in the championship and comes into the British GP off another superb podium in Austria. He will hope to spearhead McLaren’s charge in their fight against Ferrari.

Sky Sports F1’s bumper live schedule for the British GP

Sky F1 is your home for the British GP, from the live The F1 Show at Silverstone on Thursday night, right through to the three days of competitive action.

6.30pm: The F1 Show (also streamed live on Sky Sports F1 YouTube)
7.30pm: Drivers Press Conference

11.30am: F2 Practice
2pm: British GP Practice One (starts at 2.30pm)
4.50pm: F2 Qualifying
5.25pm: British GP Qualifying build-up

8.50am: F2 Sprint Race 1
11.30am: British GP Practice Two (session starts at 12pm)
2.45pm: F2 Sprint Race 2
3.40pm: British GP, F1 Sprint build-up
6pm: Ted’s Notebook

10.50am: F2 Feature Race
1.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday
5pm: Chequered Flag
6pm: Ted’s Notebook
7pm: British GP Highlights

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