Max ahead of sprint weekend: 'There are some question marks'
Published on 27 April 2023 by Stefan Meens
This weekend’s event features the first sprint of 2023. It means the first free practice session and qualifying for Sunday’s Grand Prix are scheduled for Friday. Saturday will have two sessions, a qualifying ‘sprint shootout’ to determine the sprint race starting grid and the sprint itself in the afternoon.
On the format changes, the Oracle Red Bull Racing driver commented: “It’ll be difficult to do it all perfect, but that’s what we strive for. Usually, sprint weekends have gone well, despite it being a bit more risky because you go into qualifying straight after one practice session. Usually you have more practice time to find the limit. Hopefully things won’t be too chaotic.”
Like a regular qualifying session, the sprint shootout consists of three parts. The main difference is that the drivers are prescribed what tyre compound to use, with the medium Pirellis needing run in parts one and two and the soft tyres being allocated for the final part of the shootout.
“I think the format is fine but I don’t understand the tyre allocation. I think that can lead to chaos as it’s difficult the get the medium tyres up to temperature in the first two parts. But it’s the same for everyone, so we’ll see.”
With the three week break finally coming to an end, the teams are expected to bring updates to Baku. “Every race weekend there are small improvements; things we change or add to the car. It will be the same here in Baku. We’re happy with the progress we’re making, but of course we don’t know what the competition will turn up with. The main thing is to keep understanding the car and build on that.”
Previewing the upcoming weekend, Max concludes: “Usually this is a good circuit for us, but because it’s a sprint weekend, there are some question marks. Things can go wrong because we only have one practice session. It’s track that needs more than just top speed; there are a lot of 90 degree corners which requires a strong front-end, but I think the RB19 will be strong here.”