Russell rolls to 1st Formula One victory, taking Brazil Grand Prix

Sports Desk, Nov 13 (EFE).- Great Britain’s George Russell notched his first Formula One victory on Sunday, driving for Mercedes and winning the Brazilian Grand Prix in masterful fashion at the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo, the next-to-last F1 race of the year.

Countryman and teammate Lewis Hamilton finished second – 1.3 seconds behind Russell – and Spain’s Carlos Sainz, with Ferrari, rounded out the podium, his 15th podium appearance.

Hamilton and The Netherlands’ Max Verstappen collided at the second corner on the very first lap, with a five-second penalty being assessed against the Dutchman, whose vehicle suffered significant front side damage, but the Briton came out of the incident well and – at the end of the race – was able to mount the podium for 191st time in his career.

Russell had won the Sprint Race on Saturday to secure the pole position in Sunday’s Grand Prix, and he never relinquished the lead, despite a number of collisions and overtakings going on amid the pack behind him.

With the win, Russell is now in the No. 4 position in the overall driver standings, one spot in front of Hamilton.

“What an amazing feeling. A huge thank-you to the whole team for making this possible,” said Russell after the race, adding, “It’s been an emotional rollercoaster this season.”

The other Spanish driver in the race, two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, with Alpine, turned in another great performance and finished fifth, just behind Monaco’s Charles Leclerc, with Ferrari.

The 24-year-old Russell to date had gotten onto the top-three podium eight times in his career.

Verstappen, who a month ago mathematically clinched this year’s F1 title, finished sixth, just in front of his Mexican teammate Sergio Perez.

Sainz had surpassed Perez in the final laps to finish in third place, and Verstappen zipped by both Finland’s Valtteri Bottas and France’s Esteban Ocon to get himself into the No. 6 spot.

Ocon, Alonso’s Alpine teammate, finished eighth, with Bottas (Alfa Romeo) and Canada’s Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) coming in ninth and tenth to secure ranking points.

Kevin Magnussen, driving for Haas, Daniel Ricciardo with McLaren and Lando Norris, also with McLaren, did not finish the race. Magnussen and Ricciardo had collided very early on and, due to the damage to their vehicles, both were ruled out of the contest.

The next and final race of the year, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, will be held next weekend on the Yas Marina circuit in the Persian Gulf state.

EFE –/bp

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