Sao Paulo GP: George Russell claims first F1 Grand Prix win as Lewis Hamilton seals Mercedes 1-2

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Highlights of the Sao Paulo GP from Interlagos, Brazil.

Highlights of the Sao Paulo GP from Interlagos, Brazil.

George Russell took a 1-2 lead over Mercedes from Lewis Hamilton at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix to claim his first Grand Prix win of his F1 career and the team’s first win of the season.

Russell started from scratch after claiming the first sprint victory of his career on Saturday and never gave up control of Sunday’s dramatic contest at Interlagos, which featured two safety car interruptions. did not.

At the restart after the first safety car on Lap 7, Hamilton and world champion Max Verstappen collided, forcing the Red Bull driver to pit with damage and a five-second time penalty, but the final He fought back and finished in 6th place.

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collide at Turn 2 after the race restarts following the first Safety Car.

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Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collide at Turn 2 after the race restarts following the first Safety Car.

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collide at Turn 2 after the race restarts following the first Safety Car.

Hamilton dropped back to eighth, but made an impressive comeback to second, and when the race resumed with 11 laps to go, the safety car following Lando Norris’ retirement quickly caught him back.

But Russell kept his cool and pulled Hamilton out of DRS range in the closing stages, giving the 24-year-old Hamilton a 23-point lead over the seven-time world champion and a glorious debut season with the team heading into next weekend’s season finale. closed. Abu Dhabi.

“What a wonderful feeling,” said Russell. “This season has been an emotional roller coaster.

“This was a tough race. I felt in control.

“Lewis was super fast and when I saw the safety car I thought it was going to be a really difficult end. He put a lot of pressure on me. I was speechless.”

The victory also provided great consolation for Mercedes in a season that saw its eighth straight Constructors’ title ended by Red Bull, leaving them 23 points behind second-placed Ferrari by the final race.

Shortly after Hamilton and Verstappen’s incident, Norris and Charles Leclerc also collided, and the Ferrari driver fought back from the back of the field to finish fourth behind podium-scoring team-mate Carlos Sainz.

Verstappen, who won his second straight in Japan last month, ignored team orders on the final lap with four races to go, allowing Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez to help the Mexican in the battle for second place with Leclerc. . ‘ Championship.

Perez had previously passed Verstappen and had been promised to return the favor if his teammate failed to advance further.

With Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon moving to Alpine in 5th and 8th respectively, Norris’ car failure following team-mate Daniel Ricciardo’s retirement after colliding with Haas’ Kevin Magnussen on lap 1 was a big deal for McLaren. A very disappointing day to end. 19 points behind in the battle for 4th place in the Constructors’ Championship.

Valtteri Bottas finished ninth for Alfa Romeo, his second consecutive points finish. Sebastian Vettel meanwhile scored the last points for his Martin Aston in his penultimate race of his career before retiring at the end of the season.

Sao Paulo Grand Prix: Race Results
1) George Russell, Mercedes
2) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
3) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
4) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
5) Fernando Alonso, Alpine
6) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
7) Sergio Perez, Red Bull
8) Esteban Ocon, Alpine
9) Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo
10) Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin

An emotional George Russell says he won his first F1 Grand Prix driving the race of his life.

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An emotional George Russell says he won his first F1 Grand Prix driving the race of his life.

An emotional George Russell says he won his first F1 Grand Prix driving the race of his life.

Early chaos with crashes and overtaking

After a spectacular wet qualifying on Friday when Kevin Magnussen scored his and Haas’ first pole in Formula 1, and a thrilling sprint on Saturday when Russell overtook Verstappen to take the win, Sunday’s race saw tough action. I took

But the brilliant Interlagos circuit, which has provided many classic F1 moments in the past, was delivered once again as the 71-lap race offered near-constant drama and action.

Starting from first place for just the second time in his career, Russell got a perfect getaway from Hamilton, who overtook Verstappen and Perez for third and fourth, leading comfortably into the first corner.

However, the action was quickly called off as Ricciardo, who was attempting to overtake Magnussen at Turn 9, made contact with Haas, causing both cars to retire and the safety car to be deployed.

The race did not restart until lap seven, this time with Russell clearing with a strong rolling start, but Hamilton desperately past Verstappen going into the first corner.

The Dutchman was level when he went around the first corner, but Hamilton fell back in front approaching the second corner and with little space for Verstappen on the inside, the world champion chose not to retreat. A serious collision has occurred.

Hamilton went off the track and dropped to eighth, while Verstappen had to make a stop for his new front wing, leaving him at the back of the field.

The stewards ruled Verstappen responsible for the incident and gave him a five-second time penalty to add insult to injury. However, he had company at the back of the field as Leclerc was also forced to stop after a collision with Norris.

Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris collided, causing the Ferrari to spin and hit the barriers, but his car continued on.

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Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris collided, causing the Ferrari to spin and hit the barriers, but his car continued on.

Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris collided, causing the Ferrari to spin and hit the barriers, but his car continued on.

Leclerc was displaced by McLaren at the start and was about to go around the outside at Turn 9 when Norris initiated contact with Ferrari dove into the barrier, earning him a five-second penalty.

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Amazingly, Leclerc continued the race and after returning to the pits made a spectacular recovery to finish fourth and tie the level in a battle with Pérez.

Delayed safety car sets up drama for Red Bull

The race was further dramatic as the race was interrupted by Norris’ retirement on lap 53.

Initially only a virtual safety car was ordered, during which Sainz and Alonso pitted for new soft tyres, but the full safety car was deployed as marshals struggled to move Norris’ car without the help of recovery vehicles. I was.

Perez, who had been passed by Hamilton before the safety car for second place, was the only front-runner on the medium rather than the performing soft when the race resumed with 11 laps to go, and Sainz was soon out. , Leserk, and Alonso.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen says there was a reason he didn't give team-mate Sergio Perez a place at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen says there was a reason he didn’t give team-mate Sergio Perez a place at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen says there was a reason he didn’t give team-mate Sergio Perez a place at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

This left the recovering Verstappen behind him and Red Bull ordered Perez to allow the Dutchman to overtake Alonso for fifth.

Verstappen was told over the radio to let Perez through as he was not within range of Alonso on the final lap, but ignored the order and finally said he had already told the team his ‘why’.

Verstappen was seen in the paddock after the race talking to manager and team principal Christian Horner before addressing the media.Road to back-to-back titles.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes they will perform as a team in Abu Dhabi after Max Verstappen refused to pass Sergio Perez at the Sao Paulo GP.

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes they will perform as a team in Abu Dhabi after Max Verstappen refused to pass Sergio Perez at the Sao Paulo GP.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes they will perform as a team in Abu Dhabi after Max Verstappen refused to pass Sergio Perez at the Sao Paulo GP.

Verstappen claimed he had “reasons” to defy orders and wanted to help Perez next weekend in Abu Dhabi if possible.

But the incident added sourness to what had been a glorious season for Red Bull, with Sky Sports F1’s Karun Chandhok saying Verstappen’s failure to help Perez was “short-sighted”.

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