Brazil Sprint Race: Verstappen wins, Mercedes struggle

Jaden Diaz

Max Verstappen wins the last sprint race of the season, managing this ‘mini’ race impeccably too. There was also excellent pace from Lando Norris, who finished 4s behind the Dutchman – but almost ten seconds ahead of the other Red Bull.

There were more difficulties for teammate Oscar Piastri, who was only tenth. Mercedes starts off strong but then pays for this choice, in particular with Hamilton, losing fifth position to both Charles Leclerc and Yuki Tsunoda.

Carlos Sainz had more difficulty managing, battling for most of the race with Daniel Ricciardo. It was a good recovery for Aston Martin, who could realistically be at the front in the Grand Prix.

Sprint Race Brazil: Norris misses out at the start, Mercedes and Ferrari struggle with tyres

All of the top ten started on used soft tyres, with the exception of the two AlphaTauri’s on new tyres. It was a super start for Max Verstappen, who immediately took out Lando Norris at the start in turn one. 

The Brackley team also started well, as Lewis Hamilton and George Russell made positions early on.

On lap 4, Perez regains his position over the seven-time world champion – taking advantage of the DRS advantage on the main straight (a good +30km/h compared to the silver arrows). One lap later, Lando Norris overtook George Russell via DRS on the main straight.

On lap eight, Sergio Perez successfully attacks George Russell in turn one, with the Englishman returning, with an excellent manoeuvre, to overtake the Mexican in turn 4. However, the impression is that Sergio Perez is the fastest on the track, just behind his teammate.

Meanwhile, Ferrari continues to fight with AlphaTauri, with Charles Leclerc’s engineer continuing to give indications on the ‘lift off’ to be done to manage the temperatures better.

Two laps later, the second Red Bull driver completes the overtaking on the former Williams and goes after Lando Norris. Just over halfway through the race, the McLaren driver is the fastest on the track, nibbling away at a few tenths of Max Verstappen lap after lap.

Further back, there was an intense battle between Sainz, Piastri, Ricciardo, Alonso and Pierre Gasly.

On the fourth to the last lap, the tires of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes are subject to a very high degradation (probably due to having pushed too much in the first laps) so as to allow Charles Leclerc to recover the time lost at the start of the race and to overtake with enough ease the British pilot. 

On the following lap, the 7-time world champion also missed out to Tsunoda in his AlphaTauri, who finished the race in sixth position. The final laps of the Sprint saw Max Verstappen visibly pull ahead of Lando Norris, finishing more than 4s ahead of the Englishman. In the final, in addition to Hamilton, Perez and George Russell also collapsed.