RACE DEBRIEF

    George Russell described an “amazing feeling” as he jumped out of his Mercedes cockpit as an F1 race winner for the first time with a commanding performance in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

    Russell’s Sprint and Grand Prix double at Interlagos capped an impressive recovery for the Silver Arrows in 2022, after the Brackley operation started the season – where the sport’s rules were reset – on the backfoot, behind pace-setters Red Bull and Ferrari.

    Adding to the success, Lewis Hamilton backed up Russell in the other Mercedes to give the team a one-two finish, meaning they are now just 19 points behind Ferrari in the battle for P2 in the constructors’ standings.

    READ MORE: Russell takes maiden victory as Hamilton backs up Mercedes 1-2 in Sao Paulo

    After shedding a few tears underneath the podium, Russell said: “What an amazing feeling. Just a huge thank you to the whole team for making this possible. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster this season, this race.

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    Russell has joined the club of F1 race winners with his victory in Brazil

    “[It was] a really tough race. I felt in control. Lewis was super-fast and, when I saw the Safety Car, I thought, ‘Oh Jesus, this is going to be a really difficult end.’ He put me under so much pressure, but [I’m] so happy to come away with the victory!”

    Asked to reflect on his journey to the top, Russell paid tribute to a host of influential figures over the years, including his family and various members of the Mercedes organisation, which he joined as a junior driver back in 2017.

    WATCH: Huge drama in Sao Paulo as Hamilton and Verstappen come to blows

    “I’m speechless. On the in-lap all of these memories sort of came flooding back. Starting off with my mum and dad in go karting and going through all the support I’ve had from the rest of my family, my girlfriend, my trainer, my manager,” he commented.

    “Then obviously the likes of Gwen Lagrue who gave me the opportunity to get on the programme with Mercedes and [Mercedes strategy chief] James Vowles and Toto [Wolff, Mercedes team boss] – the list is endless. I can’t thank them enough, [I’m] super proud.”