Max Verstappen overtook pole-sitter Lando Norris at the first corner at Interlagos to pull clear for victory in this morning’s Brazilian Grand Prix Sprint.
The three-time World Champion started off the front row and got a better launch off the line, taking the inside line at Turn 1 to pull into the lead.
A fast-starting George Russell subsequently passed Norris at Turn 11, but the position would reverse once DRS was activated.
The lead to Verstappen had already extended beyond 1-second by this point, and he would not fall into DRS range for the entire 24-lap race, finishing 4.2 seconds behind the winner.
Sergio Perez found a touch of form with a podium finish, overcoming Russell and Lewis Hamilton but recovering to take third, coming home five seconds adrift of Norris.
Charles Leclerc overtook a fading Hamilton on Lap 22 for fifth, while Yuki Tsunoda also found a way past the Mercedes with DRS at the start of the following lap to secure his best result of the season, in sixth.
Hamilton would hold off a late charge from Carlos Sainz for seventh, with the Ferrari keeping Daniel Ricciardo at bay to claim the final point in eighth.
Ricciardo had pressured Sainz for the position over the mid-race but found Oscar Piastri on his tail after attempting several moves to take eighth. Piastri would take ninth off his compatriot on Lap 14, but Ricciardo retook the position with two laps to go to put the pressure back on Sainz.
Piastri then faced a stern test from Fernando Alonso for ninth, crossing the line just eight-tenths ahead of the Aston Martin. Alonso had found himself on the back foot entering the race, only qualifying 15th following a crash with former teammate Esteban Ocon in the second stage of the Sprint Shootout.
Ocon clipped the front of Alonso’s car exiting the Senna S at full speed, seeing the Alpine spin towards the tyre barriers for a hard impact that resulted in a half-hour delay to the session.
Stewards deemed no one at fault for the incident, with Alonso describing it as a “wrong place, wrong moment” contact, and he veered off the racing line, but Ocon suffered a slight oversteer.
Amazingly, Ocon made the start after a precautionary visit to the medical centre, coming home a commendable 14th, given the circumstances.
Formula 1 returns for the Brazilian Grand Prix at 6.00 am on Monday, with live coverage in New Zealand on Sky Sport.
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