Sebastian Vettel believes it’s “wrong” and a “little bit confusing” for the statistical accolade of pole position to be awarded to the driver who wins Formula 1’s new sprint race, rather than the fastest driver in qualifying.
This weekend’s British Grand Prix will trial a brand-new 100km race on Saturday, which will set the grid for Sunday’s grand prix.
The regular qualifying format will take place on Friday evening at Silverstone and the results of this will decide the grid for the sprint race.
Whoever wins that sprint race will go down in the record books as the pole-sitter for the 2021 British GP as opposed to the driver who sets the fastest time in qualifying.
This irked Aston Martin’s Vettel – fourth in the all-time F1 poles list with 57 – who believes it’s “wrong” for the sprint race winner to be credited with the pole position statistic.
“So [the] pole [statistic] goes to the winner of the sprint race, apparently. I didn’t know that,” Vettel said on Thursday.
“I think that’s wrong. Pole is the fastest lap time achieved or the fastest lap time in qualifying, so it gets a little bit confusing.
“But also it depends. if this is a one-off, then it doesn’t do much harm but if we end up having 10 sprint races next year or in the future then I think it’s just a bit weird.
“Pole position should go to the guy who goes fastest on one lap.”
F1 will trial the sprint race at three events this year, with the possibility of a greater number of sprint races taking place in future seasons.
Vettel believes F1 should add “a new column to the statistics” as the sprint race is a “new discipline”.
Seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton, who currently holds the record with 100 poles, was unfazed when he learnt of the news prior to the Austrian GP.
“Ah, I don’t really have a thing about it,” Hamilton said. “We’ll wait and see. There’s no point judging it before we get into it. Doesn’t matter.”