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Russell wins Brazil GP to take maiden F1 victory

Mercedes driver George Russell secures maiden Grand Prix win in Brazil after also claiming victory in the F1 Sprint Race

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Mercedes driver George Russell led from start to finish at the Brazilian GP to go one better than his sprint race win and take his maiden victory in F1.

The Mercedes driver looked untouchable at the front as he led the entire race, fending off the challenge of Red Bull and Ferrari and finishing 1.5 seconds ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton in second.

The young Brit was in control throughout the race, and managed to survive a late safety car restart to reimpose his lead on Hamilton up front and take his first ever win in Formula 1.

The result marks a long-awaited return to the top for Mercedes after the former champions’ struggles this season, with a 1-2 finish and a dominant performance for Russell, who has finally takes the first of what will likely be many victories for the team.

Meanwhile Ferrari, who had struggled in qualifying and the sprint race and a grid penalty for Carlos Sainz, managed to rally with the Spaniard overtaking Perez for third after the late safety car, while Charles Leclerc recovered from an early crash to finish 5th.

Fernando Alonso was the best of the rest for Alpine, surging through the pack to cross the line in fifth after pitting for fresh soft tyres under the late safety car, while Max Verstappen also managed to recover from a collision with Hamilton to finish sixth.

Perez, who had chased Russell for the lead without ever really threatening the Mercedes, lost out after the late safety car as he was caught out on medium tyres with those around him on fresh softs, and he eventually slipped back to seventh.

Esteban Ocon was eighth, with Valtteri Bottas in ninth and Lance Stroll taking the final points spot in 10th.

Frantic Start

The teams were braced for an unpredictable race, with rain forecast all week, and while the weather never did turn there was plenty of early drama on track nonetheless.

All the drivers got away clean at the start, with Russell again getting a quick getaway and leading Hamilton and Verstappen through the first corners.

But the action was brought to a halt and the safety car called out as Daniel Ricciardo collided with the Haas of Kevin Magnussen, with the sprint race polesitter sent into a tailspin which collected the McLaren in the technical midfield section and taking both out of the race.

Then at the restart, Russell got the pack going again at the start of the main straight, and Verstappen spied an opportunity to go around the outside of Hamilton into Turn 1.

However, the gap disappeared and Verstappen careered into the left side of Hamilton, giving him damage that dropped him to the back of the running and forced him to pit.

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen collide in Brazil | Twitter @F1

Penalties up front

Verstappen was ultimately judged to have been at fault for the incident and handed a 5 second time penalty, with the 2022 world champion ultimately finishing in 5th.

Then there was another collision in the midfield, with Lando Norris and Leclerc going wheel to wheel, with the Ferrari driver’s bad weekend continuing as he also suffered damage which forced him to pit and ruined his race, eventually coming over the line 9th.

Norris was handed a five-second penalty for the incident, though the McLaren driver eventually had to retire due to a problem with his car.

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