Mercedes driver George Russell won the F1 Sao Paulo Grand Prix Sprint, beating Ferrari's Carlos Sainz and his teammate Lewis Hamilton following a fierce duel with double world champion Max Verstappen. F1Technical's Balázs Szabó reports on the 2022 F1 season's third sprint dash.
Following his shock pole position yesterday, Kevin Magnussen gave his best to fend off the attacks of Max Verstappen at the start, who surprisingly started the race on Pirelli’s medium compound.
The Dane managed to remain in the lead for the first two laps, but Verstappen overtook him into Turn 1 on the following lap.
Further down the grid, Fernando Alonso was forced to pit for a new front wing following a contact with his teammate Esteban Ocon on the opening lap.
The two-time world champion was furious, saying on the radio:"He pushed me in turn four [on the opening lap] and then finally in the straight. Well done.I lost the front-wing thanks to our friend."
Magnussen was unable to defend his position and lost two places to first Russell and then Sainz. Hamilton also closed in on the Haas racer and did not need long before he overtook Magnussen on Lap 6.
In the meantime, Sergio Perez launched an overtaking manoeuvre on McLaren’s Lando Norris, which he executed perfectly to gain a place.
Lap 9 saw another intra-team battle with Lance Stroll putting his teammate Sebastian Vettel on the grass down the second DRS zone. The Canadian received a ten-second penalty for the dangerous driving shortly afterwards.
On Lap 10, Russell closed in on Verstappen, getting himself into DRS range. The Mercedes driver tried to overtake the Dutchman around the outside into Turn 1 two laps later, but Verstappen fended off his attacks.
Following multiple attempts, Russell finally overtook Verstappen on Lap 15. The reigning champion was then caught by Sainz, who also managed to get past the Hasselt-born driver with an ambitious, but fair move into Turn 1.
If tyre wear were not enough of an issue, Verstappen picked up a front wing damage when he battled with Sainz. Verstappen was struggling for grip, and Hamilton also made the jump on the Dutchman with a relatively easy move.
On Lap 20, Norris overtook Magnussen into Turn 4 for seventh while Vettel got past Pierre Gasly into Turn 1 for ninth.
The last three laps saw Russell consolidate his advantage with Sainz and Hamilton finishing behind him to secure his maiden Sprint win at Sao Paulo.
At the back, Alonso recovered to 15th by overtaking two cars over the course of the final lap. The Spaniard was however given a 5-second post-race penalty for causing the collision with Ocon on the straight after investigation showed Ocon was indeed a lot slower than Alonso, but not a lot slower than other cars that had no tow there. The penalty demoted Alonso to 18th, setting him up for a race start alongside Ocon.
|4||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Rbpt||24||+10.494s||5|
|5||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Rbpt||24||+11.855s||4|
|7||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||24||+25.624s||2|
|8||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||24||+28.768s||1|
|9||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||24||+30.218s||0|
|10||10||Pierre Gasly||Alphatauri Rbpt||24||+34.170s||0|
|11||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Mclaren Mercedes||24||+39.395s||0|
|12||47||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari||24||+41.159s||0|
|13||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||24||+41.763s||0|
|14||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||24||+42.338s||0|
|15||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Rbpt||24||+50.306s||0|
|16||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||24||+50.700s||0|
|17||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||24||+51.756s||0|
|18||14||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault||24||+53.985s||0|
|19||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||24||+76.850s||0|
|NC||23||Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||12||DNF||0|
Alonso received a five-second time penalty for causing a collision.