Sao Paulo GP: George Russell takes victory in brilliant Sprint

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George Russell claimed victory in a thrilling Sprint at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

Following the emotion of Kevin Magnussen scoring pole in qualifying on Friday, the Briton capitalised on issues for Max Verstappen to overhaul the Dutchman and secure P1 on the grid for Sunday's race at Interlagos.

Sprint Review

Polesitter Magnussen kept the lead into Turn 1 as Russell challenged Verstappen for second but to no avail.

The two Alpines collided not once but twice in the opening laps, resulting in front wing damage for Fernando Alonso and a pit-stop for repairs.

Opting for medium tyres compared to the rest on softs, Verstappen needed a little longer to get upto speed but once he did, the world champion breezed past the Haas into the lead.

Magnussen soon went backwards from that points, as the two Mercedes' and Carlos Sainz quickly dispatched the Dane.

Lewis Hamilton made a strong start gaining four places, while Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc needed longer to move up the order after starting at the tail of the top 10.

Sebastian Vettel had a scary moment with teammate Lance Stroll, who pushed him onto the grass approaching Turn 4 before eventually making the pass later on the lap.

Ahead, Verstappen suddenly lacked pace after hitting debris on the main straight from the Alonso/Ocon clash, triggering an epic battle with Russell for the lead.

Despite holding off the Mercedes on several occasions, George finally swept through on the run to Turn 4 before pulling away and onto victory.

Sainz was next to pass the wounded Red Bull for second, but would hit Verstappen as he attacked into Turn 1, adding a damaged front wing to the Dutchman's problems.

That allowed Hamilton to make an easy pass on his 2021 nemesis for third, but there is a possible penalty hanging over the seven-time world champion for a start infringement.

Verstappen hung on to fourth ahead of Perez, as Leclerc eventually climbed up to sixth.

Lando Norris dropped three places from his start position to seventh, with Magnussen claiming the final point in eighth.

Vettel took ninth as Pierre Gasly rounded out the top 10. Daniel Ricciardo was 11th, ahead of Mick Schumacher who gained eight places, the most of any driver, upto 12th.

Zhou Guanyu led Alfa Romeo teammate Valtteri Bottas in 13th and 14th, followed by Alonso in 15th as Alpine had a nightmare Sprint as Ocon dropped to 18th.

Yuki Tsunoda was 16th, Stroll dropped to 17th with the two Williams' bringing up the field as Alex Albon was the only retirement.

Back at the front, Mercedes have finally taken a chequered flag first in 2022 and could have a one-two on the grid for Sunday's race after Sainz's five-place penalty for a new ICE.

But with an unhappy Verstappen and Red Bull looking to make up for a difficult Sprint, an epic 71 laps await at Interlagos.