F1 Italian GP sprint race: What time is it, how to watch it & more

Formula 1 will run its second sprint race this weekend at Monza for the Italian Grand Prix. Find out when it starts, how to watch it, and more, here.

F1 Italian GP sprint race: What time is it, how to watch it & more

The entire race weekend schedule has been shaken up to accommodate the new format, which will be used at three grands prix this season as an initial trial, with the first having taken place at the British GP in July.

Valtteri Bottas has taken top spot in qualifying for the sprint race ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, with F1 world championship leader Max Verstappen in third place having narrowly beaten both McLaren drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo.

However, Bottas is set to start Sunday’s Italian GP at the back of the grid regardless of where he finishes in Saturday’s sprint race due to a power unit change that was confirmed midway through qualifying.

Pierre Gasly once again impressed for AlphaTauri in sixth place, qualifying ahead of both Ferraris, as Carlos Sainz Jr edged team-mate Charles Leclerc, while Red Bull’s Sergio Perez could only manage ninth as Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi rounded out the top 10.

Both Aston Martin and Alpine were each handed 5000 Euro fines for a pitlane incident in Q2 of Italian GP qualifying.

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR21

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR21

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

What is F1’s sprint race?

F1’s sprint race is essentially a shortened version of a normal race, run over a shorter 100km distance and with no mandatory pitstops, compared to F1’s usual 305km grand prix distance (with the exception of the Monaco GP). Here’s a full explanation of how F1’s sprint qualifying race will work.

Sprint races are used in many other series to spice up the action, including in F1’s feeder series Formula 2, albeit with variants of its own. For example, in F2 the sprint race is 120km and the feature race covers 170km, though are usually no less exciting.

F1’s first-ever sprint race, which took place at Silverstone, was won by Red Bull’s Verstappen ahead of Mercedes’ Hamilton. The Dutch driver overtook his world title rival on the opening lap before defending his position to gain the official pole position for the grand prix, and three world championship points for winning the sprint, after Hamilton started on pole for the sprint race. Hamilton picked up two points for finishing runner-up in the sprint, with team-mate Bottas gaining one point for finishing in third place.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, passes his pit board

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, passes his pit board

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

F1’s sprint event on Saturday afternoon will be a straightforward 100km race, which tallies up to 18 laps at Monza, with the finishing order setting the final grid for the grand prix on Sunday. The race is expected to last around 30 minutes, ‘timed out’ after 60 minutes in total and if the session is red-flagged the maximum total time of the session will be 90 minutes.

The starting order for the sprint event was decided by qualifying, run in the traditional Q1, Q2 and Q3 format, held on Friday evening. The only major change will be the drivers will only use soft tyres for the session.

Two practice sessions will also be run at the Italian GP, one before qualifying on Friday and one on Saturday before the sprint race later that afternoon.

Drivers will also have a free choice of tyres for the sprint race with Pirelli providing a soft, medium and hard (at Monza this will be the middle three options in its range: C2, C3 and C4) as well as intermediate and wet weather tyres if needed.

What time does the sprint race start at the Italian GP?

The sprint race for the Italian GP starts at 4.30pm local time (3.30pm BST) on Saturday 11th September and is expected to last 30 minutes.

Date: Saturday 11th September 2021
Start time: 4.30pm local time – 3.30pm BST

How many laps will the sprint race be at the Italian GP?

18 laps - Monza

With the F1 sprint qualifying races covering 100km, it adds up to 18 laps of Monza’s 5.793km grand prix circuit layout.

Do points get awarded for the sprint races?

F1 world championship points will also be up for grabs in the F1 sprint race. The winner will claim three points, with the runner-up taking two points and third place gaining one point. There will be no bonus point for the fastest lap.

In Sunday’s main event at the Italian GP, the regular points scoring system will remain in place for both the drivers’ and constructors’ world championships, including the bonus point for fastest lap for a driver finishing inside the top 10.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21, Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M, and Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21, Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M, and Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

How can I watch the Italian GP sprint qualifying race?

In the United Kingdom, every F1 practice, qualifying and race is broadcast live on Sky Sports F1, with the Italian GP sprint race coverage starting at 2.35pm BST.

Channel: Sky Sports F1

Start time: 2:35pm BST

Autosport will also be running live text coverage of the Italian GP sprint race here

When can I watch the highlights of the Italian GP sprint race?

In the United Kingdom, Channel 4 is broadcasting highlights for the Italian GP sprint race at 6:30pm BST on Saturday. The full programme will run for 90 minutes, covering both qualifying, the sprint race and wrapping up the major talking points of the race weekend so far.

Channel: Channel 4

• Start time: 6:30pm BST

Will the Italian GP sprint race be on the radio?

Live radio coverage of every practice, qualifying and race for the 2021 F1 season will be available on the BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC 5 Live Sports Extra or via the BBC Sport website.

Coverage of the Italian GP sprint race will start at 3:30pm BST on the BBC Sport website.

What’s the weather forecast for the Italian GP sprint race?

Sunny conditions are forecast for Saturday afternoon at Monza, with a very low chance of rain. Temperatures are set to be 27 degrees Celsius at the start of the sprint race.

Italian Grand Prix sprint race starting order

Cla Driver Chassis Gap
1 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes  
2 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 0.096
3 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 0.411
4 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 0.434
5 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 0.440
6 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 0.705
7 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 0.907
8 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 0.955
9 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 1.056
10 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 1.253
11 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1.358
12 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1.465
13 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 1.514
14 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 1.548
15 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 1.837
16 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 2.370
17 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 2.418
18 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 2.693
19 Poland Robert Kubica Alfa Romeo 2.975
20 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas 3.161
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