Sao Paulo Grand Prix sprint: George Russell takes first win

Verstappen and Russell found themselves in a scrap for the lead after quickly dispensing with shock polesitter Kevin Magnussen’s Haas after two laps. After several laps of wheel-to-wheel dicing, Russell took the lead from Verstappen just after half distance. Verstappen did complain about running over some debris – which might have damaged his car – but Russell’s pace was impressive throughout the race from the beginning. Verstappen was the only front runner to choose the medium tyre, while everyone else in the top 10 chose softs, and there will be questions as to whether that was a mistake. Verstappen was past Magnussen on lap three, with Russell following him through three corners later. Russell stuck with Verstappen, only more than a second behind for two laps, and by lap 11 of 24 the Mercedes was right with the Red Bull. Russell attacked hard, Verstappen defending just as robustly, for three laps, as the Mercedes driver attacked into Turns One and Four looking for a way by. Again Verstappen defended robustly, but Sainz was just as aggressive when he passed into Turn One with five laps to go. Hamilton then passed Verstappen superbly by getting a run on him out of Turn Four and up the hill into Turn Five. Verstappen said: “It was a bit more difficult than expected somehow.

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