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Sao Paulo Grand Prix: Race Results

The triple-header continues in Brazil...

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Max Verstappen claims his 16th win of the season in a chaotic Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

Verstappen takes a dominant win in Brazil. Photo credits: Mark Thompson via Getty Images
Verstappen takes a dominant win in Brazil. Photo credits: Mark Thompson via Getty Images

F1 headed to Brazil for round 21 of the 2023 season and with that came the final Sprint Race of the year. Lando Norris took pole position for the Sprint however Verstappen took McLaren’s hopes of a win away from the team as he overtook Norris on the first lap. Verstappen claimed another victory after 24 thrilling laps which produced incredible close racing for the duration, leaving viewers itching for more action. Friday’s qualifying session got cut short due to a storm that arrived on track meaning Verstappen took pole with Leclerc and Stroll rounding out the top three.

After a couple of penalties due to impeding the order in the middle of the pack slightly shifted so here is how the grid lines up at Interlagos:

With the weekend rounded up so far, let’s look to see how the race unfolded.

Lights out

Before the lights even went out, the bad luck for Charles Leclerc continued as the Ferrari driver hit the wall on the formation lap due to hydraulic issues. There was damage to his front wing and this subsequently meant that the Monegasques would be out of the race.

With only 19 drivers now starting the race, the lights went out. However, chaos quickly ensued. The Williams of Alex Albon made contact with Hulkenberg, and though the German was able to continue the race, his teammate Magnussen wasn’t so lucky. Magnussen got tangled up in the incident and hit the wall alongside the Williams. Both drivers were then ruled out after the heavy shunts.

At the front, Verstappen got a good getaway with Norris jumping up to second place with Hamilton just behind. However, with the debris that was scattered over the track the yellow flag was quickly turned into a red flag.

With race replays being shown it seemed with the chaos of the first lap incident, Piastri ended up also tangled up in it and received damage on his rear wing. The lucky red flag meant the team had time to try to fix the Australian’s car so he could head back out. Piastri wasn’t the only one to suffer from the incident though, Ricciardo also received damage as the flying tyre of the HAAS landed on the Australian’s rear wing. Both drivers thankfully were able to get their cars fixed and join the race. However, the pair would be starting a lap down from the rest of the pack.

The race restarts

The debris was cleared away and a standing start procedure was put in place for the restart. Hamilton had a slight lock up giving Alonso some time to catch up and overtake the Brit. Norris in second was sticking to the back of Verstappen with the slipstream helping the McLaren keep within DRS range of the Red Bull. The scrap between the pair continued into turn one where they were wheel to wheel in the first corner, Verstappen stayed ahead and a couple of corners later the Dutchman was almost two seconds clear.

As the race was starting to settle down, just down the pecking order Perez overtook Russell in fifth with the Mexican now behind his championship rival, Hamilton. The Mercedes seemed to be off pace as Hamilton dropped over five seconds behind Alonso.

Heading to turn one, Perez went down the inside of the Mercedes and took fourth out of Hamilton’s grasp. This caused the chain reaction for Mercedes to bring the Brit in to get the undercut on the Red Bull. A lap later Perez went into the pits and came out just behind Hamilton. The battle was nowhere near done just yet.

As the pair continued scrapping, it wasn’t long before the second overtake happened on the Mercedes, Perez snatched the place back.

Zhou Guanyu was the next driver to retire his car due to a reliability issue, the Alfa Romeo became the fourth driver to retire from the race.

Into the pits, Verstappen went with Norris quickly following behind. However, the pitstop didn’t go in McLaren’s favour as Verstappen gained an extra 1.2 seconds and sat over five seconds clear.

Struggles for Mercedes

Hamilton was starting to struggle with his tyres and catch Stroll in fifth place. It wasn’t long before Sainz took Hamilton’s position and the Brit dropped two seconds behind.

It has been an unlucky race for Alfa Romeo who had to call Bottas in and retire the car on the 41st lap, the unfortunate double DNF for the team was due to their power units.

After issues with Aston Martin in the past couple of months, the team seemed to have found the right set-up for both their cars as by lap 47, Alonso and Stroll sat in third and fourth.

However, down the grid another overtake happened on Hamilton with Gasly quickly passing the W14 with ease. The car was struggling to catch up with other cars even within DRS range.

The problems kept persisting for the Brackley team, as Russell was told to retire his car on lap 59. Another power-unit issue was the cause of retirement, Russell became the fifth driver to retire, the third of which has been related to power-unit issues.

Final lap madness

 

Perez was fighting Alonso for a podium finish. However, through Alonso’s clever driving skills and years of experience, the Aston Martin was able to keep the faster car behind him, leaving Perez confused and stuck on how to overtake. However, on lap 70 Perez found a way to overtake the Spaniard, but, Alonso wasn’t done yet. Heading into the DRS zone Alonso took back the podium position with ease on the final lap. The pair crossed just less than a tenth of a second between each other.

At the front, Verstappen took the finish first after dominating throughout the whole race. Norris follows behind with his seventh podium of the season. Down the pecking order, Hamilton was able to hold onto the 8th position, however, it will be a weekend to forget for both him and his team.

The full race results can be found here.

Featured image credits: Kym Illman via Getty Images

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