George Russell warns sprint will dilute Formula 1

The new sprint race weekend format came into effect at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in a bid to create more excitement across all three days.

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix marks the start of a new race format for sprint weekends, as Formula 1 officials look to make the sport more exciting across all three days of action.

Agreed earlier in the week, the format sees practice reduced to one session, the Grand Prix qualifying moved to the Friday and Saturday turned into a sprint special.

Russell struggled during Friday’s Grand Prix qualifying, failing to get out of Q2, leaving him lining up in P11 on Sunday.

He managed to qualify higher up in the sprint shootout, starting and finishing the event in P4.

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Looking at the weekend, Russell revealed he had mixed feelings about the new weekend format. 

“Firstly, very happy with the job in qualifying, I think P4 is exceeding our expectations,” he told F1 TV.

“But when I got back into the pit lane I was like ‘bugger, still made that mistake yesterday’, and it showed what was probably possible.  

“But you know, you can’t always put in your A-game, and it was so close yesterday, but it’s an interesting one.  

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“We always seem to get better as qualifying progresses, we always sort of come into our own come Q3 and as the weekend progresses, so there’s something to learn there.”

Russell might struggle to get in the fight for the Drivers’ Championship this season but he is determined to ensure he cements his status within the Mercedes team.

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After his performance last year, Russell is seeking to become the first teammate of Lewis Hamilton to beat the seven-time world champion in two consecutive seasons.

Having suffered a DNF in Australia, Russell is trailing Hamilton in the Drivers’ Standings by 17 points.

Russell will be struggling to flip that form in Sunday’s Grand Prix, as Hamilton starts 6 places in front of him.