Russell takes first win in Mercedes double after Hamilton vs Verstappen clash RaceFans

George Russell held off teammate Lewis Hamilton after a late safety car to take his maiden Grand Prix win in Brazil.

Russell converted from pole position to lead the majority of the race and take the win, while Hamilton recovered from an early clash with Max Verstappen to take second place. Carlos Sainz Jnr finished third, ahead of his Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc.

When the lights went out, Russell pulled well off the line and held the lead ahead of teammate Hamilton. Verstappen moved into third and was lightly hugged by teammate Sergio Perez on the first corner, while Lando Norris moved into fifth after passing Charles Leclerc.

In the middle sector of the first lap, Kevin Magnussen was cut off by Daniel Ricciardo on the entry to turn eight and spun. As the Haas slid back down the track, it hit Ricciardo’s McLaren, sending it into the tire barrier and both drivers out of the race. The safety car was deployed while the two cars were cleared.

Gallery: The 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix in pictures

The race restarted at the start of lap seven, with Russell waiting on the starting grid to set off at race speed. Verstappen tried to pass Hamilton through the Senna ‘S’, but the pair collided at the top of the second corner, dropping Hamilton to sixth and forcing Verstappen to battle for a new front wing. Further into the lap, Norris and Leclerc clashed at Ferradura, sending the Ferrari spinning into the tire wall. Despite the crashes, all cars continued and the race did not require the intervention of a second safety car.

Russell now led Perez by less than two seconds, with Carlos Sainz Jnr promoted to third after Norris and Leclerc collided. Verstappen rejoins the race with a new front wing in 17th, ahead of only Leclerc. The stewards found him responsible for the collision with Hamilton and gave him a five-second penalty, while Norris received the same for the clash with Leclerc.

Hamilton passed Sebastian Vettel and Norris to move up to fourth, which became third when Sainz became the first of the lead riders to stop, taking a second set of soft tyres. Perez fell more than three seconds behind Russell in front until he came to a halt at the end of lap 23, moving to medium compound. Mercedes called the leader to respond a lap later, bringing him back ahead of Perez and behind Hamilton, who had yet to stop.

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Hamilton finally went medium at the end of lap 30, restoring the lead to his teammate. Russell’s lead was now extended to around five seconds, with Sainz three seconds behind Red Bull and Hamilton catching the Ferrari. Sainz stopped just after halfway for the mediums, pushing Hamilton up to third who started chasing Perez up front.

By the start of lap 44, Hamilton had caught the Red Bull. A lap later Hamilton used the DRS along the pit lane to infiltrate Perez and take second again. Perez pitted for the mediums but was covered by Mercedes who brought in Hamilton for the soft tyres. Soon after, Russell was brought back to used soft tires for the final 21 laps to carry him through to the end of the race.

On lap 53, Norris went off the track at the Bico de Pato exit, triggering a Virtual Safety Car. Sainz pitted and switched to soft tyres, dropping to fourth, before the VSC was upgraded to a full safety car.

The race resumed at the start of lap 60, with Russell leading teammate Hamilton and Perez into fourth. Perez came under intense pressure from Sainz, who eventually used the DRS to move past Descida do Lago, with Leclerc following his teammate a lap later.

Russell held a lead of just over a second over his team-mate and maintained his advantage over the final ten laps, taking the checkered flag to secure his first career win and Mercedes’ long-awaited first victory of the season. Hamilton crossed the line behind his team-mate to make it a Mercedes one-two, while Sainz completed the podium by taking third, more than three seconds ahead of team-mate Leclerc.

Fernando Alonso held off Verstappen in the final laps to claim fifth, while Perez finished second after fainting in the latter part of the race on medium tyres. Esteban Ocon finished eighth in the second Alpine, ahead of Valtteri Bottas ninth, with Lance Stroll completing the top ten.

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2022 Brazilian Grand Prix reaction

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