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F1 drivers slam suggestion of qualifying race

Leading Formula One drivers have slammed a "reverse grid" qualification proposal to liven up the sport, with Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton among those voicing their opposition to the scheme.

Under the current format, qualifying takes place in three phases over an hour on Saturday.

Five of the slowest cars are eliminated at the end of each of the first two phases, with pole decided in a final session with 10 cars.

But this makes overtaking difficult and the finishing order sometimes varies little from the starting grid.

Formula One owners Liberty Media have been exploring options to shake up the starting order, including swopping the running order so the fastest qualifiers start from the back.

Nothing has been decided, but changes could come into effect as soon as next year.

Ferrari's Vettel did not mince his words when asked about the proposal ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix.

"It's complete b******t, to be honest," he said.

"I don't know which genius came up with this, but it's not the solution. It's completely the wrong approach."

Reigning champion Hamilton was also scathing.

"I don't really know what to say to it. People who propose that don't really know what they're talking about," he said.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, who edged out Hamilton's Mercedes and Vettel for pole in Singapore on Saturday but finished second behind Vettel last night, said he "would not be happy" with the rule change.


"I don't think it's the solution for Formula One," the 21-year-old Monegasque said.

"The best shall win and start in the best place and not reversing that order. I don't think it's the solution."

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said any change risked putting off fans.

"We have a really strong weekend format," he said.

"We should be very careful with experimenting with audiences of hundreds of millions throughout the season." - AFP, REUTERS