Russell wins São Paulo Sprint ahead of Sainz and Hamilton
Verstappen 4th, Perez 5th
George Russell took his first F1 Sprint victory, overtaking Max Verstappen soon after the midway point in a bruising race at Interlagos in which Verstappen sank to fourth at the flag after a collision with Carlos Sainz who went on to take second place ahead of the second Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
At the start of the race, Haas’ first-time polesitter Kevin Magnussen got away well to take the lead as Verstappen on medium compound Pirelli tyres, held P2 under pressure from George Russell. Further back, there was contact between Esteban Ocon and Alpine team-mate Fernando Alonso that hampered the Spaniard and eventually dropped him to 15th.
At the front, Magnussen’s lead lasted just two laps and at the start of lap 3, Verstappen closed in and slipped by into Turn 1 to take the lead. Russell then used DRS to pass the Dane and Sainz dived down the inside of Magnussen to start the Haas driver’s predicted fall down the order.
Further back, Sergio Peerez was on the move from P9 at the start and after dismissing AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, he used DRS to close up to McLaren’s Lando Norris at the start of lap eight to claim sixth place. The plummeting Magnussen was next on his target list and he soon bypassed the Haas driver to take fifth, just under four seconds behind Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
At the front, Verstappen was coming under increasing pressure and at the start of lap 12 Russell attacked into Turn 1. The Dutchman shrugged off the initial assault and then fended off a second attack into Turn 4.
With his soft tyres still in good shape, Russell had the advantage and though Verstappen defended well there was nothing he could at the start of lap 15 when after another assault in Turn 1 Russell drew alongside after Turn 3 and powered past before they turned in for the Descido do Lago.
Sainz was soon also on the attack. His overtaking move on Verstappen was tight though and as he tried to shut the door there was contact and Verstappen lost his left front-wing end plate.
Hampered by the damage and his choice of tyres, Verstappen soon fell in the clutches of Hamilton and in the closing stage was forced to watch them draw away.
The Dutchman was able to hang on, however, until the chequered flag, narrowly taking fourth ahead of hard-charging Checo. Sixth place went to the Mexican’s rival for P2 in the championship, Charles Leclerc, while Lando Norris was seventh and the final point on offer went to pole position man Magnussen.
|01||George Russell||Mercedes W13||24 laps - 30m11.307s||0|
|02||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari F1-75||+3.995||0|
|03||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes W13||+4.492||0|
|04||Max Verstappen||Red Bull RBPT RB18||+10.494||0|
|05||Sergio Perez||Red Bull RBPT RB18||+11.855||0|
|06||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari F1-75||+13.133||0|
|07||Lando Norris||McLaren Mercedes MCL36||+25.624||0|
|08||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari VF-22||+28.768||0|
|09||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22||+30.218||0|
|10||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri RBPT AT03||+34.170||0|
|11||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren Mercedes MCL36||+39.395||0|
|12||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari VF-22||+41.159||0|
|13||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42||+41.763||0|
|14||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42||+42.338||0|
|15||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault A522||+48.985||1|
|16||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri RBPT AT03||+50.306||0|
|17||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22||+50.700||0|
|18||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault A522||+51.756||0|
|19||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes FW44||+76.850||0|
|20||Alex Albon||Williams Mercedes FW44||DNF||0|