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Formula 1 Hungarian GP

Sainz "paid the price" for Hungary F1 tyre trial

Carlos Sainz reckons he "paid the price" for Formula 1's alternative tyre allocation trial in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix, having been eliminated in Q2 by just 0.002s.

For the round at the Hungaroring, F1 changed the rules governing tyre allocation and restricted each car to just 11 sets of slick Pirelli rubber over the weekend. This also locked the teams into running hard tyres in Q1, medium tyres in Q2, and softs in Q3.

The side-effect of the reduced allocation was drivers complaining about a lack of running, although FP1 was arguably hit less hard as wet weather offered the teams the chance to use the intermediate and wet tyres to reduce the impact on their allowance.

In his reactions to the ATA format trial, Sainz felt that he had been collateral in F1's desire to boost qualifying.

"I find [the format] interesting for quali, for the rest of the weekend, very dull, very boring.

"We arrive here on a Wednesday to prepare everything. And then on Friday, you spend more time in the garage than running [in front of] the fans, because we have no tyres.

"Why even bother doing two one-hour practice sessions if you don't have tyres to run? Or why even having Friday if we have no tyres to run on them and to learn from the car, the track and put on a show for the fans?

"Definitely, something needs reviewing - either the format or the tyre allocation, the two at the same time, it's like you're not doing one thing or the other.

"That's what I think comes [from trying to] spice up the things. Today, I have paid the price for it. But for F1, if they want to spice it up, I mean I don't think they need to, but if they want to mix things up a bit, then mix them up. But that's why I don't complain about quali and I complain a bit more about the free practice stuff."

Hungarian Grand Prix polesitter Lewis Hamilton agreed with Sainz's assessment that the effect on practice was not particularly conducive to good entertainment for the Friday crowds.

However, he accepted that the knock-on effect of the tyre allocations had nonetheless produced an interesting qualifying session.

Max Verstappen also concurred that the reduced running in Friday practice was not a particularly desirable by-product of the ATA trial, and also voiced his disagreement that the session format did not need to be changed.

"Yeah, I'm not really sure. I mean, people said that we criticised the ATA, I think it was more just the fact that just being conscious of the fans here, when we only have one set in the session, we have less running," Hamilton said.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: Michael Potts / Motorsport Images

"And already when they changed the rules many years ago when we only have two sets in the session doesn't lead you to a lot of running and we have less time on track as well.

"So I'm not sure that was necessarily the best for the Friday for entertainment, but today clearly provided great [entertainment], it was great starting on the hard in the first session and then over to the medium. I generally enjoyed the qualifying session in that respect.

"I like the normal format. I don't think there's anything wrong with it," Verstappen added.

"And I think when you have cars which are just very close, like we had now a Q3 on a soft, that was probably still the most exciting. So you can still also have that in Q1, Q2 on soft tyres. So doesn't really matter in the format

"I think it's more important, like Lewis said on Friday that we just run, instead of just sit in the box. People are paying so much money to sit on the grandstand and you're not doing a lot of laps, so that's not ideal."

Fernando Alonso was stronger in his opposition to the reduced quantity of tyre sets, labelling it a "disaster" and felt that the spectators had been short-changed by less on-track running during practice.

"It was strange, but not a big deal," Alonso explained. I think the biggest downside of this format is the practice that we cannot test because we are saving tyres. I'm not a fan of the format. I think it was a disaster to see cars not running in free practice because we are saving tyres.

"I think it didn't add anything to the show. I feel sad for the spectators, they paid the ticket for Friday, FP1, FP2 and FP3, and cars in the garage because we don't have tyres to run."

Despite the drivers' complaints, only 26 fewer laps were completed in this year's second practice (531) than in last year's session (557).

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