Max Verstappen led from the first corner to the flag to win the São
Paulo Grand Prix Sprint. The Red Bull driver took over from Lando
Norris at the start before commanding the 24-lap event at
Interlagos, adding eight points to his already unassailable tally.
Norris was the only driver near the Dutchman’s level in second,
finishing over eight seconds ahead of Sergio Perez in the second
Red Bull. But whilst there was no fight up front, the midfield
treated the Brazilian crowd with some scintillating battles to
brighten the spirits around the Sprint format. Sprint treat at
Interlagos Verstappen made an instant move for the lead into Turn 1
after Norris struggled off the line, as did Perez, who slipped
behind George Russell. The Mexican lost further ground as Lewis
Hamilton made a stunning move around the outside into Turn 4 to
take fourth. But Perez fought back and by lap 10, the Red Bull was
back past the two Mercedes drivers, albeit needing two bites of the
apple to dispose of Russell for a top-three berth. The midpack put
on a wonderful display of wheel-to-wheel racing, with Carlos Sainz,
Daniel Ricciardo, Oscar Piastri, Fernando Alonso and Pierre Gasly
all leaving everything on the track – Ricciardo and Alonso securing
moves around the outside at Turns 1 and 4 on numerous occasions.
Verstappen and Norris were untroubled up front with Perez
stretching his advantage over Hamilton for second in the
championship with third. Russell secured fourth for Mercedes ahead
of Charles Leclerc, who made his way past a struggling Hamilton in
the closing stages. Yuki Tsunoda also got past the Briton and
finished sixth in a fine display for AlphaTauri. Hamilton slipped
to seventh, ahead of Sainz who rounded out the points finishers.
Ricciardo led Piastri and Alonso across the line in ninth, 10th and
11th, with Lance Stroll making his way up from the back of the grid
for 12th. Alpine duo Gasly and Esteban Ocon came next – the latter
lucky to take part after rapid repair work from his mechanics after
his crash in Sprint Shootout. Alex Albon rose from 19th to 15th,
finishing ahead of Kevin Magnussen, who ran the Mediums for Haas.
Zhou Guanyu was 17th, with Nico Hulkenberg, Valtteri Bottas and
Logan Sargeant closing out the finishers.

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