F1 drivers want practice sessions to be trimmed

NURBURGRING • Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas said that a Formula One grand prix no longer needs to be held over three-day weekends.

The two Mercedes drivers were responding to questions on Saturday over the fog and rain that cancelled two 90-minute practice sessions at the Nurburgring.

"I don't think we need to be in on Fridays," said Hamilton, dismissing suggestions that his lack of practice contributed to him failing to secure a record-extending 97th pole position. "So, it was fine for me."

Bottas, who secured his third pole of the season and 14th of his career, said he felt that in modern Formula One, too much time was spent in practice sessions.

"Currently, in a normal weekend, I feel like there is too much practice," he said.

"Everyone finds their way on set-ups and optimal things in terms of driving and the car set-up. But if there was a bit less practice, maybe some teams can get it right, some drivers can get it right and some don't. So, I'd kind of like it with a bit less practice."

He added that even if the champions had taken part in two practice sessions on Friday, they would have made only a relatively small gain in performance.

"No doubt, the more you practise, you get all the fine details right," he said. "And on Friday, you have the whole night afterwards before the last session to look at things and learn more from the car and the driver."

Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who qualified third behind the Black Arrows after they locked out the front row for the 72nd time, agreed.

"We have a lot of practice so you can take your time to settle in and you can go over it through a whole night, working on little issues or whatever," he said.

"But when you realise that it is only one session, you are straight away on it and it is very different."

The unscheduled introduction of a two-day race weekend in northern Germany was an unexpected rehearsal for the upcoming Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola on Nov 1, when a single 90-minute session is planned.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2020, with the headline 'F1 drivers want practice sessions to be trimmed'. Print Edition | Subscribe