George Russell passed Max Verstappen to win F1 Brazil GP sprint win from Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton in the Top 3.

Pole-sitter Kevin Magnussen made a good start in his Haas in F1 Brazil GP sprint race as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen had to defend from Mercedes’ George Russell starting on the medium tyres with the Dutchman staying in front of the Brit.

McLaren’s Lando Norris stayed in front of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz as Alpine’s Esteban Ocon kept sixth after a fight against teammate Fernando Alonso going into Turn 4. The Spaniard was forced onto the kerbs as he kept himself behind in the order.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton was eighth in points, with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc rounding the Top 10. At the front, Magnussen managed to lead for a lap or two before Verstappen took the sprint race lead with the Dane dropping behind.

He lost to both Russell and Sainz, who cleared Norris for fourth and moved up to third. The Brit lost to Hamilton who cleared Ocon. The Frenchman had a tangle with Alonso in the final corner where the Spaniard damaged his front wing and forced him to pit.

Hamilton was up to fourth with Perez up in fifth after passing Magnussen and Norris who were sixth and seventh. Ocon dropped to 10th with Leclerc in eighth from AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel.

The two had a squabble for track position where Stroll moved across to his left at Turn 1 with Vettel on the grass. The Canadian was eventually handed a 10s penalty for dangerous moved as the German eventually passed him for 10th on the order.

Up front, Verstappen started to be pressured on by Russell. The Brit stuck to his tail and tried a move for multiple laps but the Dutchman kept him at bay. He was helped by a brief yellow for Williams’ Alexander Albon stopping at the side.

But it didn’t deter Russell who eventually got through Verstappen at Turn 1 to lead the F1 Brazil GP sprint race with the Dutchman soon losing his touch with the Brit after noting of damage. He had Sainz and Hamilton on his tail in a three-way fight for second.

And soon Sainz made a move on Verstappen to snatch second. They made contact at Turn 1 with the Dutchman losing endplate of his front wing. He fended off Hamilton for couple of laps but he had too much at hand to eventually lose out to the Brit for third.

He dropped long behind in fourth as Perez started to close in on Verstappen. Leclerc was up to sixth as Norris passed Magnussen for seventh in the Top 8. Vettel was just outside points after passing Gasly for ninth as three drivers were put under investigation.

It was down to grid positioning for Hamilton, McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo and Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu with the incident to be investigated after the race. At the front, Russell eased in to win the F1 Brazil GP sprint win from Sainz who fended off Hamilton.

Verstappen was fourth from Perez, Leclerc, Norris and Magnussen in the Top 8 points position, with Vettel and Gasly rounding the Top 10. Ricciardo ended up 11th from Stroll, who eventually dropped to 17th after his 10s time penalty.

It promoted Haas’ Mick Schumacher to 12th where he also had a moment with the Canadian. Guanyu was 13th from Alfa Romeo teammate Valtteri Bottas, with Alonso recovering to 15th from AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda.

Stroll was 17th from Ocon who dropped like a stone after his early contact with Alonso with the Alpine pair far behind in the fight for fourth. Williams’ Nicholas Latifi – the other on the medium tyres – was 19th after Albon retired.

UPDATE: In a scare to Gasly, the Frenchman was a left off with a warning after found to be driving unnecessarily slowly in the reconnaissance lap. “The Stewards heard from the driver of Car 10 (Pierre Gasly) and team representative. The Stewards took into account that there were people on the grid just after SC Line 1, however the driver is responsible for driving the required speed during the entire lap.

“The Race Director’s Note to Teams (document 20) specified a maximum time of
1:12.0 between the Safety Car lines and car 10 recorded a time of 1:14.185,” stated the stewards’ note, who also cleared Hamilton, Guanyu and Ricciardo for being slightly off at the grid box during the start of the grand prix.

“The Stewards reviewed the start sequence, as it was observed that multiple cars were potentially out of their grid box in violation of Article 8.6.1.a) of the FIA International Sporting Code, being either to the left or right of the grid box. Having reviewed all available angles of video, and making measurements on the grid, the Stewards noted that the grid boxes were slightly smaller than usual and that the drivers’ visibility makes compliance extremely difficult and that no driver was in a position that gained any advantage. The Stewards are therefore satisfied to take no further action,” said the note.

In a feisty opening laps among the Alpine pair, Alonso was handed a 5s time penalty for his collision with Ocon in the final corner which damaged the Spaniard’s front wing. He also gets two penalty points as he was wholly adjudged to be the guilty party which dropped to 18th behind Tsunoda, Stroll and Ocon.

“The Stewards heard from the driver of Car 14 (Fernando Alonso), the driver of Car 31 (Esteban Ocon), the team representative and have reviewed video and telemetry evidence. Alonso started a pass on car 31 at turn 15. The team noted that Ocon was unusually slow because of the aero damage due to the incident at turn 4, however the Stewards determined via telemetry that Ocon was at similar speeds to other cars at the same point on the track that were not in a tow.

“Alonso, however, was significantly faster as he had the tow, and – as he admitted in the hearing – slightly misjudged the time to pull out and struck Ocon from behind, his front wing striking Ocon’s rear tyre. The Stewards found that Alonso was wholly at fault for the collision, which at those speeds and at that location on the track was dangerous.”