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Sao Paulo Sprint

Sao Paulo Grand Prix: F1 Sprint results

The Sprint Race around Interlagos marked the fourth on-track session of the weekend in Sao Paulo

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The Sao Paulo Sprint is complete with Max Verstappen taking the victory ahead of Lando Norris and Sergio Perez.

Sprint
Sergio Perez leads Lewis Hamilton on track during the Sprint ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 04, 2023 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Round 21 of the 2023 season is underway with only the Sao Paulo Grand Prix left to happen this weekend. So far, we’ve seen a red-flagged Qualifying that resulted in Max Verstappen taking pole position ahead of Charles Leclerc. In the Sprint Shootout earlier today, a red-flag was brought out in SQ1 before Lando Norris went fastest in the final session, taking his first Sprint pole of the season.

Whilst Friday’s action saw horrendous weather that put an early end to Qualifying, Saturday brought warmer weather. For the Sprint Race, all eyes were on Norris in the McLaren but also the AlphaTauri duo – Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda – as they both managed to qualify in the top 10.

Just before the Sprint began, it was announced that Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon were both able to compete in the shortened race. The two came together during the Shootout earlier in the day, resulting in significant damage on both cars.

The starting grid for the Sprint around Interlagos was:

Lights Out

The tyres for the Sprint were the medium and soft compounds. Magnussen, Hulkenberg and Sargeant were using the medium tyres. Everyone else had the soft compound tyres for the Sprint with the AlphaTauri drivers and Bottas using a new set.

The opening lap of the Sprint in Sao Paulo saw Norris have a great reaction time off the line but Verstappen, who had a quicker reaction time of 0.15 seconds, took the lead into Turn One going around on the inside. Sergio Perez couldn’t match his teammate as he lost a place on the start, which allowed Hamilton to overtake by underbraking and get up into fourth.

Whilst Hamilton made a move up in the order, Russell overtook Norris to get into second. Further back, Bottas had an unfortunate start after going backwards three places.

Mercedes going backwards

Hamilton was soon under pressure from Perez. The Mexican got back ahead of Hamilton down the straight with DRS, but Hamilton tried to get back ahead going into Turn Four. Leclerc then joined the fight with a three-way battle for P4. After the battle, Perez maintained fourth position with Hamilton in fifth, whilst Russell moved back a position as Norris overtook to get back into second place.

Tsunoda, who was in P7 on lap six, reported over the radio that Leclerc was underbraking. Further back, Alonso was attempting to overtake Magnussen, which he managed by going on the inside to get into 12th. Ocon then got ahead of the other Haas of Hulkenberg.

A DRS train was forming behind Hamilton all the way down to 13th whilst it was reported that oil was leaking from the Alfa Romeo of Bottas. The four front runners were pulling away from the rest of field and Russell went backwards another place as Perez got ahead.

However, the Mercedes driver soon retook the position getting back into third place. It didn’t last long though as a couple of laps later, the Red Bull had a better run and was back in the podium positions, creating a 1.2second gap to Russell.

Midfield battles

Sainz, who held the final points position at lap 12, was under pressure from Ricciardo. The AlphaTauri driver got ahead of the Ferrari into Turn One, using DRS. But Sainz retook the lead into Turn Four, which allowed Piastri to get within DRS range of Ricciardo.

Whilst Sainz held onto eighth position, Ricciardo wasn’t giving up. The Australian swooped round the outside of Turn One on lap 14, getting ahead but Sainz managed to swap back positions in the next couple of corners. Piastri then joined the fight getting ahead of his fellow countryman.

Alonso who was trying to overtake Gasly finally managed the move, but lost the place to the Alpine driver going into Turn One. The two drivers then continued to battle for the next couple of laps until Alonso secured his car in 11th position.

Five laps to go

With seven laps to go, the soft tyres were slowly getting to the end of their life.

Piastri was 1.9 seconds behind Sainz, but behind him Ricciardo and the two Aston Martins were all within DRS range. Further ahead at the front of the field, Norris had a 2.5 second gap to Verstappen whilst Perez was 8.6 seconds behind the Brit.

Hamilton, however, was 20 seconds off Verstappen and 4.1 seconds off his teammate. As a result of the Mercedes’ lack of pace, Leclerc was able to get into DRS range behind Hamilton, dragging Tsunoda behind him in seventh.

The Monegasque driver overtook Hamilton, which looked to be an easy move on the seven-time world champion. Tsunoda then tried it on Hamilton, the two of them going side by side, but Hamilton was able to hold onto sixth place, but not for long.

Tsunoda got ahead of Hamilton and at the same time, Ricciardo made the move on Piastri to get ahead. As Martin Brundle said, though, the AlphaTauri’s were on a new set of tyres for the Sprint, whilst Hamilton was on scrubbed soft tyres.

The final lap saw an attempt from Alonso to get ahead of Piastri but the Spaniard couldn’t make the move stick.

The results

Verstappen took the win after taking the lead from Norris into Turn One. Norris finished second ahead of Perez in third. The top eight (point-scoring positions) from the Sprint are as follows:

1 – Verstappen

2 – Norris

3 – Perez

4 – Russell

5 – Leclerc

6 – Tsunoda

7 – Hamilton

8 – Sainz

Today’s result marked the first Sprint points for AlphaTauri. It also means that Perez increased his lead over Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship, where the two are battling for P2.

Headline image: GettyImages

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