All the action recapped from Sprint and qualifying day in Shanghai – F1 news round-up

Henry Valantine
Max Verstappen wins the Chinese GP Sprint. F1 news.

Max Verstappen took top honours in the Sprint and qualifying on Saturday.

Max Verstappen won the Sprint and took pole for Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix, while Lewis Hamilton fell from the podium to P18 later on, in Saturday’s F1 news.

It was an action-packed day of track action at the Shanghai International Circuit, with it being the first Sprint weekend of the season and much more as the drivers set out – so let’s dive straight in.

Max Verstappen wins first Sprint of the season

First up, the reigning World Champion rose from fourth on the grid to claim victory at the first Sprint race of the season.

Lewis Hamilton took the lead from Lando Norris at the start, leading for the early stages but it was Verstappen who climbed through the pack to take top honours at the end of 19 laps.

It was a thoroughly entertaining Sprint all round, and even Verstappen acknowledged afterwards the new format is “definitely better than what we used to have”.

Read more: Chinese GP: Max Verstappen pounces on Lewis Hamilton mistake to win the Sprint

Fernando Alonso given 10-second penalty after DNF

In a strange turn of events following a DNF in the Sprint, Fernando Alonso was given a 10-second penalty for causing a collision with Carlos Sainz – and three penalty points on his Super Licence to boot.

The incident came with both Spanish drivers jostling for position and the stewards deemed Alonso at fault, handing down a hefty penalty for his actions – though the time penalty was effectively null and void given he did not finish, but the penalty points may come back and bite him later.

It sparked plenty of debate given the circumstances.

Read more: Fernando Alonso handed baffling penalty for Carlos Sainz sprint incident

Verstappen dusts himself down to take commanding pole as Hamilton error leaves him P18

With the cars able to be worked on before qualifying in the first example of the new Sprint format this weekend, the drivers had time to tweak their setups before heading into qualifying for Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix.

Verstappen took pole position but Lewis Hamilton was a shock exit in Q1, his lock-up heading into the Turn 14 hairpin costing him enough time to knock him out of the session entirely.

Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso round out the top three heading into the race, with Carlos Sainz having recovered from a Q2 crash to make it back to the pit lane, get fixed and place his car P7.

Read more: Chinese GP: Max Verstappen back on pole position as ‘disaster’ befalls Lewis Hamilton in qualifying

Lewis Hamilton explains reasons behind early Q1 exit

With Hamilton having made changes to his car before qualifying, he said he took the car “a long way” in one direction to try and improve as experiments continue to make the most of his car, but his lock-up is what prevented him from moving forward.

“This morning, George and I had very similar cars but then this afternoon we’re trying to experiment still with the car,” he said to Sky F1 after the session.

“I went one way, a long way, and he went the other way, just to see if we can find anything.

“That’s what we need to do at the moment. But yeah, it didn’t work.”

Read more: Lewis Hamilton explains qualifying downfall after Chinese GP Sprint podium

F1 CEO on more Sprint weekends: ‘Why not?’

Having seen a successful Sprint for the first one of the season, Formula 1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali is leaving the door wide open to more Sprint weekends taking place over the course of a year in future.

When asked about the prospect, he told Sky Sports F1: “Why not? Why not?

“I would say this is great because it keeps the tension on every day.”

“This is something that we’ll discuss in the future. Now, let’s say, let’s see how this year with the Sprint with the way that we have and see how we go.

“But that’s a point of discussion, for sure.”

Read more: ‘Why not?’ – Stefano Domenicali hints at more Sprint race weekends amid Japanese GP concern