October 2, 2022

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton both recover – and have no penalties – after crashing in Q3 during qualifying; Max Verstappen starts first for the Sprint race, live on Sky Sports F1 at 3.30pm with a ramp up from 2.30pm

Last update: 07/09/22 1:16 p.m.


Carlos Sainz topped the timesheets ahead of Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen in the final Austrian GP practice ahead of Saturday’s Sprint.

A crucial last hour of running before the drivers set off on 24 laps in the Sprint, live on Sky Sports F1 at 3:30 p.m., also saw the return of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell after their Mercedes qualifying crashes.

With the one-lap pace taking center stage on Friday, the second practice session was devoted to longer races and Sainz set the tone with a time of 1:08.610.

He was closely followed by teammate Leclerc and Red Bull title leader Verstappen, who will start the Sprint first ahead of Ferrari.

Alpines Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon finished fourth and fifth, ahead of Sergio Perez. Perez moved from fourth to 13th on the Sprint grid after a post-qualifying penalty for track limits.

The Mercedes garage is in full swing preparing Lewis Hamilton's car and rolling it around the Red Bull Ring for practice 2 of the Austrian Grand Prix.

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The Mercedes garage is in full swing preparing Lewis Hamilton’s car and rolling it around the Red Bull Ring for practice 2 of the Austrian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes garage is in full swing preparing Lewis Hamilton’s car and rolling it around the Red Bull Ring for practice 2 of the Austrian Grand Prix.

Mercedes, meanwhile, managed to get both cars back on track after their costly crashes in Q3.

Neither Russell nor Hamilton have gearbox penalties or engine changes despite the heavy shunts, and Russell was first on the track before Hamilton, who now uses an older Merc chassis, emerged with 15 minutes to play.

Russell and Hamilton eventually finished seventh and ninth, with 33 and 14 laps completed respectively, ahead of Lando Norris as McLaren showed some semblance of competitive pace after a disastrous Friday.

Leclerc completed the most laps of the session, with 43.

What exactly is Sprint?

The Sprint is the name of the shortened Saturday race that started in 2021 and is back for 2022, shaking up the usual weekend format and providing more wheel-to-wheel action with another race.

In fact, a mini version of what we see on Sundays, the riders race 100km – which is a third of the usual race distance and, in the case of Imola, converts to 24 laps – in a sprint flat out for the grid slots for the Grand Prix and the points for their championship hopes.

Replacing qualifying in the Saturday slot, we will see the Sprint at three more rounds in 2022, at Imola, Austria and Brazil.

New provisional grid: Austrian Sprint GP

1)Max VerstappenRed Bull
2)Charles Leclerc Ferrari
3)Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
4)George Russell, Mercedes
5)Esteban Ocon, Alpine
6)Kevin Magnussen, Haas
seven)Mick Schumacher Haas
8)Fernando Alonso, Alpine
9)Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
ten)Pierre Gasly, Alpha Tauri
11)Alex Albon Williams
12)Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo
13)Sergio Perez, Red Bull
14)Yuki Tsunoda, Alpha Tauri
15)Lando Norris, McLaren
16)Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren
17)Lance Stroll, Aston Martin
18)Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo
19)Nicholas Latifi, Williams
20)Sebastien Vettel, Aston Martin

How it works?

The 20 drivers start in the order in which they qualified on Friday evening – more details below – and their finishing positions 100km later will be the positions in which they will line up for the start of the Grand Prix of sunday.

If you win, you start from pole position for Sunday’s race; if you’re 10th, you start in the same place a day later, while if you have a technical problem or a crash, you’ll be in the back and have everything to do.

Are there points for the Sprint?

Yes – and significantly more than last year in one of the main changes.

In 2021, only the top three drivers scored points and there was only a total of six points on offer; three for the winner, two for the second and one for the third.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell had a Q3 to forget, with both Mercedes drivers breaking through the crash barriers ahead of Saturday's Sprint.

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Lewis Hamilton and George Russell had a Q3 to forget, with both Mercedes drivers breaking through the crash barriers ahead of Saturday’s Sprint.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell had a Q3 to forget, with both Mercedes drivers breaking through the crash barriers ahead of Saturday’s Sprint.

In 2022, the top eight will score points and that point total will increase to 36. The winner will collect eight points, second place will score seven, and it will continue in descending order to eighth (one point).

The points offered mean that the Sprint is even more important in 2022.

Not only do more drivers – in addition to fighting for grid position for Sunday’s race – have a chance to score points, they can now take a total of 34 points over a weekend instead of the 26 usual. Additionally, if a driver wins all three Sprints in 2022, that almost equates to a race win on its own (24). Practice.

Are there any pit stops in the Sprint?

Although not technically forbidden, pit stops are rare given the brevity of a Sprint.

Unlike the Grand Prix, there is no mandatory tire change required and, unless the cars are damaged or punctured or it’s raining, don’t expect them to leave the action on the track for the pit lane between the extinguished lights and the checkered flag.

Drivers are free to ride any tire compound – hard, medium or soft – they wish.

And the Grand Prix, is it unchanged on Sunday?

The 71 laps of the Austrian Grand Prix around the Red Bull Ring are unchanged and remain the main event of the weekend.

Lights out this year is at 2 p.m. Sky F1 assembly begins at 12:30 p.m.

The usual points apply on race day, ie 25 for the win (or a maximum of 26 if the winner also sets the fastest lap) up to one point for 10th place.