After a week filled with exciting driver lineup announcements, the teams and drivers return to this season’s next port of call at the Italian Grand Prix.
The Ferrari fan-favourite outing will commence this Friday with Free Practice kicking off the weekend – with another welcomed twist.
The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza will feature the second Sprint Qualifying of the season.
Therefore, Qualifying will move to Friday following FP1, setting the grid for the 100km sprint on Saturday – the finishing order of which will dictate the grid at lights out for Sunday’s 53-lap Italian GP.
With the return of a weekend shake-up, there will also be a change to the practice schedule, with only two one-hour sessions. One will take place before qualifying on Friday and then there will be one more before the F1 Sprint on Saturday.
The last time the Sprint was featured on the calendar was at the ever-memorable 2021 British Grand Prix, where championship rivals Verstappen and Hamilton collided on the opening lap of the race.
Hamilton had previously topped the Qualifying timesheets, but Verstappen came home first during the Sprint. Then on Sunday, the pair fought wheel to wheel, resulting in the Red Bull violently colliding with the barriers.
This weekend will likely see the pair arrive in Monza with all guns blazing, as Verstappen holds the lead in the championship by just three points.
Until proceedings kick off, here’s a reminder of the sprint qualifying layout:
Drivers will race 100km on Saturday afternoon, with the results from this deciding the pecking order for Sunday’s main event.
The top three finishers during Sprint Qualifying will also receive points – three for 1st place, two for 2nd, and 1 for third.
Saturday’s grid will be decided on Friday, by using the current format seen on a Saturday, and there will be a 60-minute practice session on Friday and Saturday mornings.
Parc Fermé conditions will apply from the start of Qualifying on Friday, to stop the construction of special Qualifying cars, limit the number of hours required for preparing the car for the following day, and allow enough reconfiguration of the cars to make Saturday morning Free Practice a useful session.