Sao Paulo has it all. Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton clash in the penultimate race of the Formula 1 season. George Russell celebrates the premiere of his victory.
After his gala in Sao Paulo, Formula 1 premiership winner George Russell, still wearing his helmet, threw himself into the arms of his mechanic as if unleashed. “I knew we could do it, I knew it, I just needed some tissues,” said the overwhelmed Englishman with tears of joy in his eyes.
After a chaotic start with the safety car stage, Russell, driving impressively, even held off his onrushing team-mate. Lewis Hamilton distance and gave Mercedes its first Grand Prix success of the year in Brazil. Russell was just 1.5 seconds faster than the second Silver Arrow at the finish line.
“It was so difficult at the end, he put so much pressure on,” admitted Russell, who received congratulations by phone from Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, who was away at Interlagos. “Such a fantastic result. Congratulations George! I’m really happy for him,” said Hamilton, who is looking for his 104th career win.
Carlos Sainz in a Ferrari was third in a thriller at Interlagos. An early crash with Hamilton meant Max Verstappen, the long-time world champion, failed to finish sixth in the penultimate race of the season. The fact that the Dutchman did not allow his teammate Sergio Perez, who is still fighting for the second place in the world championship, to pass by him caused intense emotions in the Red Bull box. The provocative statement of Verstappen’s government is more from the car.
No points for Vettel and Schumacher
Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel lost points in the penultimate Grand Prix of his career in eleventh place. Mick Schumacher The weekend was an emotional rollercoaster. 20th place in qualifying, in which his teammate Kevin Magnussen raced to a sensational pole position. The 23-year-old, whose future at Haas should be officially decided next week, then fought his way up to twelfth in the sprint. Later, after a penalty against Alfa Tauris Pierre Gasly, Schumacher was 13th, again without points.
“Usually there is no victory, but I still hope so,” Verstappen said a few minutes before the red lights went out. Complaints about the balance of his Red Bull and a bad choice of tires in the sprint allowed him to start in third place.
The two-time world champion put the silver pair in front of him for the first time this season. Sprint winner Russell and Hamilton with second hopes of a coup d’état for silver. “I like it here,” said Hamilton, who recently became an honorary citizen of Brazil. “I hope we give you a good race.”
Clash between Hamilton and Verstappen
As so often, Interlagos had it all. Contact between Magnussen and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo alerted the safety car after just a few laps. Russell led the field ahead of Hamilton, Red Bulls Verstappen and Sergio Perez. Vettel moved up one place to eighth, Schumacher to tenth.
Russell also won the restart. Hamilton and Verstappen, on the other hand, clashed at turn two. After the impact, the car parts flew into the air. “He didn’t leave me anywhere,” complained the Dutchman, who also relentlessly attacked the Englishman. There was already an accident between two pilots in Brazil last year. Hamilton even capped off a crazy race all weekend with a Grand Prix win.
Verstappen receives a five-second penalty
Verstappen received a new front and a five-second penalty for the crash. “Where should I have gone?” complained the Red Bull star. Hamilton, on the other hand, was able to continue. Vettel was even on his way to the podium at times, while Schumacher was only in the points.
Russell extended his lead over Perez to almost 3.7 seconds before the Mexican retired on lap 24 in the lead and on medium tyres. Verstappen made an unsuccessful stop and the Mercedes front man followed.
Hamilton stayed out and took the lead. “It’s getting dark in here, is it going to rain?” he asked his crew. No, nothing to see. On lap 30, the seven-time world champion also pulled out to change tires. He then chased compatriot Russell into fourth place.
Russell: “This is just the beginning.”
Hamilton stepped up. On lap 45, he caught Perez and became his team-mate’s first chaser. Hamilton was missing for about ten seconds. In lap 49 he got the soft tires in the pits. “Why, what the hell…” fumed Hamilton, who actually wanted to stay outside. Russell came a lap later.
Lando Norris was forced to park his McLaren on the field due to a fault. Again the safety vehicle was used to recover the vehicle. The field shrunk, fresh tension for the final round.
“You’re racing against each other, but please be respectful,” was Mercedes’ message to Russell and Hamilton in the final laps. But there was no more difficult duel between these two. Crowning his race with a Grand Prix victory, Russell declared: “This is just the beginning.”
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