George Russell outlasted Carlos Sainz and teammate Lewis Hamilton to win the sprint race of the Brazilian GP and give Mercedes their first win of the season albeit in a shorter format.
The 100-km race set the grid for the main event at Interlagos with Hamilton promoted to second as Sainz will drop to seventh after a penalty for exceeding his season’s engine allocation.
George Russell started the Brazilian GP sprint in third behind Max Verstappen and surprise pole-sitter, Kevin Magnussen before arguably the most competitive race of the season ensued.
Verstappen quickly caught up with Magnussen before being passed on lap 15 himself by Russell after Brit’s several tries.
He complained of running over debris and made contact with Sainz’s Ferrari as the Spaniard overtook aggressively with five laps remaining. Lewis Hamilton also passed the Dutchman before the chequered flag meaning Verstappen finished 4th but moves to third for the race due to Sainz’s penalty.
Red Bull and Verstappen have already won both championships and are now chasing records, with the team on a run of nine wins in a row.
Sergio Perez, Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate, finished fifth with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc sixth and McLaren’s Lando Norris seventh.
Magnussen managed to take a point for Haas in the eighth after falling down the order.
The race was also full of drama for teammates Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon who clashed twice with the Spaniard first being forced wide and needing a new front wing and then hitting the rear of the Frenchman’s car when trying to pass.
Alonso, who will join Aston Martin at the end of the season, was handed a five-second penalty plus two points on his licence for causing the second collision as a result.