Lewis Hamilton vehemently disagrees with Max Verstappen

Azerbaijan saw the new format rolled out for the first time, as Formula 1 officials look to cut down on practice and provide more excitement.

Max Verstappen has not been discreet about his thoughts on the new Formula 1 Sprint race format, openly criticising it and even suggesting it could lead him to retire early if it is adopted more widely.

The Dutchman’s disapproval of the situation is only likely to have grown after a tough weekend in Baku saw him finish in P3 in the Sprint and P2 in the Grand Prix, while his teammate Sergio Perez took victory in both races.

With Perez claiming two P1 finishes, the gap between Verstappen and the Mexican in the Drivers’ Championship has been reduced to just 6 points. 

“It’s like being 3-0 up in football and then they say ‘ok reset it to 0-0 and let’s go again’,” Verstappen said.

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“I was bored in the qualifying. It’s too artificial.  

“I’m like ‘my God, another qualifying?’ It’s not real racing.”

Verstappen’s old rival Lewis Hamilton holds a different view, believing that the old format means teams waste a lot of time and fans are left with a lack of engaging moments on the Friday.

“I generally like it,” Hamilton said.  

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“A lot of time is usually wasted in a weekend, so I think it’s good like this.”  

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has a more nuanced position, believing the format is better but shouldn’t be introduced at ever race weekend.

“I think this is a better format than last year’s sprint format,” he said. 

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“But I wouldn’t want it to be the standard format in the future.  “I think it’s fine if we have three, four races like this in a year.”  

If Perez claims victory in Miami and Verstappen finishes in P2 or lower, the Mexican has the chance to secure the lead in the Drivers’ Championship for the first time in his career.

For Red Bull, the success in Azerbaijan means that the title-leaders have won every race, including Saturday’s Sprint, so far this season, cementing an almost 100 point lead in the Constructors’ Standings over their nearest rivals.