Ross Brawn 'very pleased' with F1's first sprint race

SILVERSTONE, England -- Formula One motorsport boss Ross Brawn gave a ringing endorsement of the sprint race at the British Grand Prix.

Silverstone hosted the F1's first sprint qualifying event, which will set the grid for Sunday's Grand Prix. The traditional qualifying session was shifted back from Saturday to Friday and set the grid for the 17-lap sprint.

Lewis Hamilton had beaten Max Verstappen in qualifying but that was reversed in the opening laps when Verstappen got the better getaway off the line. That proved crucial, as Hamilton could not get past Verstappen on lap one and then faded.

Brawn said the format, due to take place at Silverstone, Monza's Italian Grand Prix and a third race yet to be determined, passed the first test.

"Very pleased," he said when asked his verdict. "It's a completely new concept for Formula One."

Brawn singled out Fernando Alonso's performance after the two-time world champion stormed from 11th to 5th on the opening lap.

"I think one of the things we all saw today was a racing driver is a racing driver and they're never going to take it easy," Brawn said. "That first lap or so was completely nail-biting, and sensational, and then we had the little duels in the rest of the race.

"Fernando Alonso's performance today was sensational, got my vote for the highlight of the race. I'd buy a ticket for that every day, so we're very pleased.

"We'll let the dust settle on the weekend, spend some time with the FIA and the teams, try and understand if there's some evolutions we want but we won't be changing the fundamental format this year.

"I think after the three races we can sit down and see where we go from here. But so far very positive."

Brawn said F1 will analyse everything, and listen to fan feedback, after Sunday's race.

Speaking of the fan feedback, he said: "At the end of the day that's a crucial thing. We're already getting massive feedback, positive, from the fans, on social media, they love it.

"But there will be fans who make some comments, what they didn't understand or appreciate and we'll take that into account as well.

"I think we've got to look at the weekend overall. We need to view the weekend overall, as I don't see anything we've done which takes away from the weekend, I think it's all additive, but let's see the whole weekend, let's see the race, then at the end of it all we can do an analysis, talk to the fans, look at all the data and details and see if there's some tuning we need to do."