F1 News – Verstappen passes Norris off the start to win the Sprint

Sao Paulo Grand Prix – Max Verstappen continued his winning ways, passing Lando Norris at the start and continuing relatively unchallenged from there.

Only a few hours after the Shootout and the cars are all lined up on the grid ready to go racing for 24 laps in the Sprint. Lando Norris will be leading the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez off the line when the lights go out while Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso’s cars have both been repaired after their collision at the end of SQ1, they’ll be starting side-by-side on row eight with Alonso in P15 and Ocon P16.

Sprint Results – 2023 Sao Paulo Grand Prix

Most of the grid have chosen the soft tyre, most used though Yuki Tsunoda P6, Daniel Ricciardo P8, Valtteri Bottas P14, Zhou Guanyu P18 have new softs. The two Haas drivers, Kevin Magnussen P11 and Nico Hulkenberg P12 are on used mediums while Logas Sargeant P20 has new mediums on.

As the race started it was an ideal getaway for Verstappen who took the lead at the run to the first corner while the Mercedes behind also had a good time, George Russell passing Perez at the first turn, with Lewis Hamilton following through a few corners later. Russell continued his charge on the opening lap to go down the inside of Norris and snatch P2 away from the McLaren driver.

While Russell remained within a second of Verstappen over the opening few laps, Hamilton had Perez on his tail and looking to demote the seven-time champion. At the start of lap 4, Perez blasted past the Mercedes, who then had to focus on defending from Charles Leclerc, who was right behind.

Lap 5 saw the other Mercedes lose ground too. Russell finally fell out of DRS range of Verstappen and without the extra pace to combat the DRS that Norris had and so the polesitter got back up to P2 and pulled over a second’s gap on the Mercedes driver over the next lap.

While none of the top five had DRS by lap 7, Hamilton was at the head of a DRS train with everyone down to Alonso in P12 with DRS on the car in front. There was a bit of a gap between the Aston Martin and Ocon in P13, but the Alpine driver had the rest of the field in a second DRS train behind him.

Lap 8 saw Perez make a move on Russell but the Brit was able to respond and hold his spot but a lap later and the Red Bull driver was able to make his move stick and so the Mercedes drivers were back to where they started, in P4 and P5.

Behind the top five it was a battle between the Ferraris and AlphaTauris, Tsunoda was right behind Leclerc while Ricciardo was battling with Sainz for P8, the two swapping places multiple times. 

That fight was ended on lap 14 by Oscar Piastri, the McLaren driver had closed right up on them and launched his own attack on his countryman and slipped down the inside of him to snatch P9. Behind them, Alonso and Gasly were also swapping P11 multiple times before the Aston Martin made it stick on lap 15 and focused his sights on Ricciardo.

At the front, Norris had almost made it to DRS range by lap 15 but Verstappen then picked up his pace to pull the gap back to around two seconds.

Lap 21 saw Leclerc close right up on Hamilton and go down the inside at T1 while Tsunoda then almost followed through but the Mercedes driver held P6 for a little longer. The Japanese driver bided his time and then sailed around the outside on the run to T1 the next lap to demote Hamilton to P7.

In the end Verstappen took the chequered flag by just over four seconds to Norris while Perez trailed the two by another nine seconds. Russell ended the day in P4 while Leclerc managed to hold off Tsunoda for P5. The P6 for the Japanese driver was the first time AlphaTauri had manage to take points in a Sprint.

Hamilton was P7 while Sainz was able to hold off Ricciardo, who’d gotten back in front of Piastri with two laps to go, for the final point. The Ferrari driver denying AlphaTauri a double-points finish as he finished just 0.197 seconds ahead of Ricciardo.

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