5 Winners and 5 Losers from the Sao Paulo Grand Prix
For the first time since the Austrian Grand Prix, a team other than Red Bull won a race, as George Russell led home Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix. We’ve picked out five winners and five losers from Interlagos.
Winner: George Russell
George Russell couldn’t hold back the tears as he celebrated a maiden Grand Prix victory with an accomplished drive – which included two faultless Safety Car restarts from the lead – at Interlagos.
He becomes F1’s 113th different winner, and the 20th from Britain, with his win coming on the circuit where he made his first race weekend appearance when he drove for Force India in 2017.
It moves him 25 points clear of his decorated team mate Lewis Hamilton – who finished second for the third successive race – and ends his run of four events without a podium.
Loser: Kevin Magnussen
Kevin Magnussen’s weekend began on an incredible high as he secured his – and the Haas team’s – first pole position.
But that glorious moment felt like a world away on Sunday when he was tipped into a spin and forced into retirement by Daniel Ricciardo on Lap 1.
The Dane did score a point in the Sprint, which helped Haas move two points ahead of AlphaTauri in the fight for P8. But he knows his total haul could have been so much bigger.
Mercedes locked out the front row at Interlagos and converted it into their first one-two for more than two years – Imola 2020 being the last occasion.
This was the Silver Arrows’ first victory of 2022, their first since Saudi Arabia last year, and their 125th triumph in Formula 1.
They slashed the gap to Ferrari to 19 points in the fight for second in the constructors’ championship but, with just one race to go, overhauling the Italian outfit might be too much of a stretch.
With both Alpines down towards the back of the grid having collided with each other twice in the Sprint, McLaren were in great shape to jump ahead into fourth in the constructors’ championship.
But Ricciardo’s race didn’t even last one lap – and while Lando Norris ran as high as third, a collision with Charles Leclerc earned him a five-second time penalty.
His lack of pace dropped him down the field before a loss of power forced his retirement. This was McLaren’s first double DNF since the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix.
Alpine bounced back from a miserable Saturday to score an impressive haul of 14 points.
Fernando Alonso utilised a three-stop strategy from 17th – and benefitted from a late VSC and Safety Car – to finish fifth, equalling his best finish of the year.
His team mate Esteban Ocon was eighth for the second race in a row, making it the French team’s second double points finish in four races. They now have a firm grip on P4 as they lead McLaren by 19 points.
Loser: Max Verstappen
Red Bull endured their most disappointing weekend since the opening Grand Prix of the year, with Max Verstappen the team’s highest finisher in sixth.
It was the reigning world champion’s lowest finish at Interlagos since joining Red Bull in 2016, as he struggled to get the best out of his tyres and was handed a five-second time penalty for colliding with Hamilton.
He passed Perez for sixth and opted not to move over to hand the place back to help Perez’s bid for second in the drivers’ standings, despite the team asking him to do so.
Winner: Carlos Sainz
This was one of Carlos Sainz’s smoothest and most efficient performances of the season, the Spaniard following up his second-place finish in the Sprint with third in the Grand Prix.
It was more impressive given he started seventh, courtesy of a five-place grid penalty for an internal combustion engine change.
With P3 he took his ninth podium of the season – and the first time he has accepted his trophy on the Interlagos podium during the official ceremony, having missed it in 2019 when he scored his first F1 rostrum courtesy of a post-race promotion to the third step.
Loser: Sergio Perez
Perez was at a loss to explain why he was so slow on Sunday afternoon, the Mexican losing ground courtesy of the Safety Car and then dropping from third to seventh in the space of nine laps.
He was disappointed Verstappen didn’t swap places with him when asked to do so by the team, costing him points in his fight with Leclerc for P2 in the championship.
It means he heads to the final race of the season level on points with Leclerc, rather than two ahead.
Winner: Valtteri Bottas
Valtteri Bottas looked set for a big haul of points when he ran fifth with seven laps to go, but the late Safety Car cancelled out his advantage and left him exposed.
Though he dropped to ninth, it was still a good result considering the Finn started 14th, and the two points were key as they move Alfa Romeo five points clear of Aston Martin in the battle for P6.
It was Bottas’s second consecutive points finish, having failed to score in the previous 10 races.
Loser: Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel has been in brilliant form of late and looked set for another strong result in what was the penultimate Grand Prix of his career.
The Aston Martin driver was fighting Bottas for fifth but the late Safety Car meant that those behind who pitted were considerably faster than the German on used mediums.
He tumbled down the order and ultimately failed to score in 11th, his team mate Lance Stroll stealing the final point with his sixth P10 finish of the season.