Brazilian GP: Russell secures first ever F1 win on triumphant day for Mercedes – live | Formula One8 min read
Another bit of late drama: In the closing laps Red Bull asked Verstappen to let his teammate, Sergio Perez, through, which would have helped the Mexican in his battle with Leclerc for second place in the drivers’ standings.
Verstappen said: “I told you already last summer, don’t ask that again to me. OK? Are we clear about that? I gave my reasons and I stuck by it.”
Time for the national anthems on the podium … including the first ever rendition of “God Save the King” for a grand-prix winner.
And after all the excitement, the final standings at the Brazilian GP:
1 George Russell Mercedes Leader
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +1.529
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari +4.051
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +8.441
5 Fernando Alonso Alpine +9.561
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing +10.056
7 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing +14.080
8 Esteban Ocon Alpine +18.690
9 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo +22.552
10 Lance Stroll Aston Martin +23.552
11 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin +26.183
12 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo +29.325
13 Mick Schumacher Haas F1 Team +29.899
14 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri +31.867
15 Alexander Albon Williams +36.016
16 Nicholas Latifi Williams +37.038
17 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1L
18 Lando Norris McLaren
19 Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 Team
20 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren
Russell speaks: “What an amazing feeling … a huge thank you to the whole team for making this possible … it’s been an emotional rollercoaster this season, this 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 so happy to go away with the victory.
“I’m speechless, on the in-lap, all of these memories sort of come flooding back
“All the support I’ve had from my family, my team, my girlfriend, my manager … I can’t thank them enough. Yeah, super proud.
Hamilton speaks: “Firstly I’ve got to say huge congratulations to George, what an amazing drive he did today … he truly deserves it.
“To my team, so proud of everyone back at the factory. This is huge result, so a big, big thank you.
On the coming together with Verstappen: “What can I say? You know how it is with Max …
“I’ve had one of the best weeks of my life here. Excited to come back here again.”
Russell is in tears. The emotion for him is understandably huge. What an incredible amount of work he’s put in to achieve this … a massively deserved win, and a fantastic performance to do it too, with Hamilton on his tail after the safety car. He had to earn it.
The celebrations among the Mercedes team are riotous, and why not? It’s not been an easy season for them and that’s a cracking one-two result.
“I tried my very best … but finally a Kings Lynn driver has won a grand prix,” Martin Brundle remarks, drily. (Clearly he is very pleased for Russell.)
“Congratulations to the team,” says Hamilton on the radio. “Thank you so much for your consistent efforts, this is a great result … congratulations to George, I am so happy for him.”
Russell, on the radio, is thrilled: “Come on team! Come on! One-two, unbelievable! This is just the beginning guys, this is just the beginning … so proud of all of you! Whooo!”
George Russell wins the Brazilian grand prix!
Incredible drive. Russell has his first grand prix victory! A one-two for Mercedes!
What a drive by the 24-year-old, holding off Hamilton for a magnificent win.
Lap 71/71: Russell starts the final lap and he’s 1.7secs ahead now! He’s stretching the gap! What a drive this has been …
Hamilton second, Sainz third.
Lap 70/71: The gap is up to 1.6secs for Russell!
Lap 70/71: Russell is still in front and the gap is 1.3secs! Hamilton doesn’t seem to be able to make inroads on the middle sector of the circuit.
Lap 68/71: Russell sounds cool on the radio. Mercedes are saying these two are free to race. Russell’s got a seven-times world champion and three-times Brazilian GP winner up his backside. Can Russell hold on?!
Lap 68/71: All the while, George Russell edges closer to a grand prix win … he is 1.1sec ahead of his teammate Hamilton.
Lap 67/71: Verstappen flies down the inside on his teammate Perez and is up to sixth!
Lap 65/71: Alonso is on an impressive charge for Alpine and is up to fifth …
Lap 65/71: The current top five:
Verstappen is up to seventh.
Lap 64/71: Leclerc now passes Perez! Mercedes are one and two, Ferrari are now three and four …
Lap 63/71: Russell is turning in a magnificent drive here and he leads Hamilton by 1.348sec.
Lap 62/71: Russell sets the fastest lap!
Perez and Sainz are duking it out for third place, meanwhile.
Sainz takes Perez and is in third!
Lap 61/71: Up front, Russell has just under a second lead over Hamilton.
Perez, on the medium tyres, is now 3secs behind Hamilton.
This is a shootout between Russell and Hamilton.
Verstappen, for what it’s worth, is down in ninth.
Lap 60/71: They’re off again! We are racing!
Russell looks to have plenty of pace in comparison both to his teammate, in second, and the rest of the field. Leclerc, who crashed earlier, is now in fifth place.
Lap 59/71: A bit of controversy in the Alpine team: Ocon is told in no uncertain terms that he should not be racing Alonso, his teammate.
“Let me race,” he says.
Lap 58/71: “Why is the safety car not coming in?” asks Verstappen on the radio.
Anyway, we are a few seconds away from Russell v Hamilton v Perez v Sainz!
Perez of Red Bull is on mediums.
Lap 57/71: A victory for Hamilton would mean so much after a season of frustration … but a first grand prix win for Russell would surely be more special?
They have both pitted twice and are both on soft tyres … so in theory it’s all to play for after the safety car.
Lap 56/71: Safety car still out. Mercedes have a one-two on track. How are Russell and Hamilton going to play this when the race resumes?
“Lewis is entitled to go for it,” observes Brundle.
Three stewards are trying to move Norris’s car, but anyway, the safety car is out.
Lap 54/71: Sainz pits … It’s a one-two again for Mercedes on track.
Norris’s car is yet to budge. Will we see the safety car?
“As long as Norris’s car can go to neutral, and they can roll it away, it will stay a VSC,” reckons Brundle.
Lap 53/71: Lando Norris’s McLaren has ground to a halt on the circuit. We have a virtual safety car.
Lap 51/71: Hamilton sets a new fastest lap: 1.14.103
“Extremely fast,” says Brundle on commentary.
Russell still leads, Sainz second, Hamilton third. The gap between second and third is 4.557 secs.
Hamilton on the radio, presumably regarding that pit stop: “Why? What the hell?”
Team: “The softer tyres are faster throughout.”
Lap 49/71: The current top 10 below.
Hamilton pits. “My tyres are good!” he shouts. He re-emerges behind Sainz, now in third place.
George Russell Mercedes Leader 1
Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +22.297 2
Carlos Sainz Ferrari +30.782 2
Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing +33.252 2
Fernando Alonso Alpine +57.142 2
Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing +55.367 3
Esteban Ocon Alpine +64.958 2
Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo +66.702 1
Lance Stroll Aston Martin +67.143 2
Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin +68.881 3
Lap 47/71: A very young, jubilant Mercedes fan is pictured in the stands kissing his Mercedes baseball cap, alongside his mum and dad, who I think are also sporting Mercedes-branded kit. Cut them open, they bleed Mercedes.
Lap 45/71: Hamilton takes Perez! The crowd goes wild. It’s a one-two for Mercedes on the track right now. Russell is 10secs ahead.
Lap 44/71: Hamilton is now fighting Perez for second place having relentlessly caught him over the last few laps. Perez and Hamilton are both 10secs or so down on the leader Russell.
Lap 42/71: Mercedes tell Russell they think they will be going for soft tyres for the final portion of the race and ask him what he thinks. His reply on the radio is too fuzzy to make out …
Lap 41/71: Ted Kravitz reckons the Mercedes strategy is all aimed at securing a one-two, as a priority over a win for either driver. That makes sense given the title race is long since over …
The current top five is:
Both the Mercedes are going exceptionally well.
Lap 39/71: “If Hamilton does not win today, Verstappen cost him the result,” emails Edwin. “Come on Lewis, let’s win this. 30 more laps. It’s hammer time.”
Lap 37/71: Sainz of Ferrari pits.
Richard Williams, of this parish, is not impressed with that little coming-together earlier:
Lap 34/71: Verstappen moves up to 15th place, slowly making progress following that coming together with Hamilton and the five-second penalty.
Lap 32/71: That’s the current top 10 below. Everyone’s been into the pits once. Hamilton is catching Sainz, having just set a fastest lap.
This could be shaping up nicely for Hamilton if the pit strategy pays off …
George Russell Mercedes Leader 1
Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing +5.344 1
Carlos Sainz Ferrari +8.474 1
Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +13.551 1
Fernando Alonso Alpine +27.793 1
Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo +29.523 1
Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin +31.573 1
Esteban Ocon Alpine +32.765 1
Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri +35.436 1
Lando Norris McLaren +37.087 1
Lap 30/71: Hamilton pits! Are Mercedes going for a one-stopper for Hamilton, with most going for a two-stop strategy? Hamilton re-emerges in fourth place. The top three is now Russell, Perez and Sainz. Russell has 4.3secs on Perez in second.
Lap 28/71: Anyway, Hamilton leads his teammate Russell by 7.7secs. Hamilton asks if there is any rain in the air. His team says they don’t think so.
That said, the commentators reckon the sky is darkening ominously and looks like much more than the forecast 10% chance of rain. That would spice things up …