Lewis Hamilton said he’s still a fan of Formula 1‘s sprint format despite a difficult Saturday at the 2023 Austrian Grand Prix.
Hamilton finished the sprint race in tenth after failing to make it out of Q1 in the sprint shootout, but remained positive on concept of sprints in F1 and said he enjoyed the soaking wet Saturday afternoon at the Red Bull Ring.
“It’s nice having something different, when we usually have just a Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday the same all season, Jesus,” Hamilton told the media. “It was pretty chill, it was fun.
“I just had to laugh out there and was just enjoying myself, it was like being around Rye House on a normal weekend just enjoying yourself.”
Austria is Hamilton‘s 318th F1 weekend since making his debut in 2007 and all but eight of them have been the standard practice-qualifying-race format.
Hamilton: I’m not a gambler
Hamilton arrived at the Red Bull Ring after scoring back-to-back podiums in Spain and Canada, but after a solid if not spectacular fifth-place qualification he endured a difficult sprint Saturday.
In SQ1, Hamilton set the fastest time of the session but then saw that lap deleted for track limits, leaving him perilously close to the elimination zone.
As more drivers improved their time Hamilton dropped into the bottom five and he seemed to be impeded by Max Verstappen on his final flying lap ending any chance of advancing to SQ2.
In the sprint itself Hamilton was got a fantastic start, launching from 18th to 13th inside the opening two laps, but struggled to make headway from there and switched to slick tyres after teammate George Russell, ending his quest for points.
“I think I had a great first lap and then generally just struggled with the balance of the car,” Hamilton added. “I think when you get into the right wet conditions, it highlights the issues you have with the car, and those don’t give you confidence.
“But otherwise, I transitioned to the slicks way too late. I don’t really like gambling and I didn’t so I paid the price for that. But otherwise, I’m relatively happy with it.”