Verstappen wins São Paulo Sprint ahead of Norris and Pérez
Russell 4th, Leclerc 5th
Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen passed polesitter Lando Norris at the start of the São Paulo Sprint to set up a straightforward march to his fourth Sprint victory of 2023, beating the McLaren driver to the flag by four seconds, Sergio Pérez took third place.
When the lights went, Norris got away well from the front of the grid, but Verstappen also reacted well to outdrag the McLaren driver down the straight and as they went into Turn 1 the champion dived down the inside to steal the lead.
Pérez was also beaten to the punch at the start as Mercedes’ George Russell forced his way through in Turn 1, and as they exited Turn 3, Russell closed up to Norris and passed the McLaren in Turn 4.
Hamilton then made an opportunistic move on Pérez to drop the Mexican to P5, but the3 Red Bull driver soon recovered and on lap 4 he powered back past the Mercedes driver on the run to Turn 1.
At the start of lap 5, Norris closed up to Russell and the McLaren driver muscled his way back to second place, while Pérez continued to edge closer. And at the start of lap 8, the Mexican powered past the Mercedes driver into Turn 1. However, Russell then got DRS down the Reta Oposta to steal the place back in Turn 4. On the following lap, the Red Bull man tried to hang back in Turn 1 and pass in Turn 4 but Russell was wise to the ploy and defended well to hold the place.
But on lap 10, Pérez got the job done, passing Russell earlier on the pit straight and then putting distance between himself and the Mercedes on the following straight.
At the front, Verstappen was comfortable in the lead and on lap 13 the gap stood at 1.2 seconds, with Pérez a further 5.7s behind. And over the following laps, the Dutchman began to stretch his legs and on lap 18 he pushed to two seconds clear of the McLaren.
Behind the top three, Russell was now almost four seconds behind Pérez with Hamilton in fifth ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda. Leclerc then forced his way past Hamilton to take fifth and with Hamilton visibly struggling for grip on ageing tyres, he was soon pounced upon by Tsunoda who also got past.
Verstappen, though, was now firmly in control and after 24 laps he took his fourth Sprint win of 2023, 4.2 seconds ahead of Norris, Pérez third, 12 seconds ahead of Russell, and with Leclerc in fifth. Yuki Tsunoda took sixth ahead of Hamilton and the final point on offer went to Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.
|01||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19||24 laps - 30m07.209s||0|
|02||Lando Norris||McLaren Mercedes MCL60||+4.287||0|
|03||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19||+13.617||0|
|04||George Russell||Mercedes W14||+25.879||0|
|05||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari SF-23||+28.560||0|
|06||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04||+29.210||0|
|07||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes W14||+34.726||0|
|08||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari SF-23||+35.106||0|
|09||Daniel Ricciardo||AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04||+35.303||0|
|10||Oscar Piastri||McLaren Mercedes MCL60||+38.219||0|
|11||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23||+39.061||0|
|12||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23||+39.478||0|
|13||Pierre Gasly||Alpine Renault A523||+40.621||0|
|14||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault A523||+42.848||0|
|15||Alex Albon||Williams Mercedes FW45||+43.394||0|
|16||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari VF-23||+56.507||0|
|17||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43||+58.723||0|
|18||Nico Hülkenberg||Haas Ferrari VF-23||+60.330||0|
|19||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43||+60.749||0|
|20||Logan Sargeant||Williams Mercedes FW45||+60.945||0|