Russell secures maiden F1 win at Brazilian Grand Prix

Russell secures maiden F1 win at Brazilian Grand Prix

George Russell won his first-ever Formula One race as he led a Mercedes one-two ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton at the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Carlos Sainz of Ferrari completed the podium in third, while champion Max Verstappen of Red Bull was only sixth after receiving a five-second penalty for an incident with Hamilton.

It was a good start for the Mercedes duo as Russell and Hamilton retained their positions in first and second respectively, following the results of Saturday’s sprint race.

Further down the grid, however, Daniel Ricciardo of McLaren and sprint race polesitter Kevin Magnussen of Haas were involved in a crash that ended the race for both drivers and triggered the deployment of the safety car.

At the restart, Hamilton and Verstappen made contact in the first corner, with the British driver dropping to eight and the Dutchman to the back of the grid, while Charles Leclerc of Ferrari was tipped into the wall by the McLaren of Lando Norris.

All drivers were able to continue, but Verstappen and Norris received a five-second penalty each for the incidents.

Russell was then left to fight with Perez and retained his lead after the first round of pit stops.

But Hamilton made his way up through the grid and was right behind his team-mate when the safety car was deployed for a second time after Norris lost power and was forced to stop on the track.

With a green light from the team to race each other, Russell endured pressure from Hamilton once the safety car came in at the end of lap 59 but then cruised to his maiden victory.

“What an amazing feeling. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster this season, even this race. Lewis was super fast and when I saw the safety car I thought ‘Jesus, this is going to be hard,'” Russell said.

The victory was also the first one for Mercedes this season as the team struggled throughout the year under the new car regulations. But they could still finish second in the constructors’ championship, position currently occupied by Ferrari.

“We’ve worked so hard this year to get a win so this is hugely deserved by everybody,” Hamilton said.

Verstappen and Red Bull have long clinched both drivers’ and constructors’ championships, but there’s still plenty to be decided ahead of the final race in Abu Dhabi on November 20.

In the fight for second place in the drivers’ standings, Leclerc got the best out of the fight against Perez in Brazil. He dropped to the back of the grid after the incident with Norris, but recovered to finish fourth.

His pleas for a position swap with team-mate Sainz, however, were denied by Ferrari.

Ferrari sports director Laurent Mekies told broadcasters Sky Sport Germany that it was an “unecessary risk.”

Perez, meanwhile, finished seventh behind Verstappen, who refused to let the team-mate through.

“I told you already, you guys don’t ask that again to me. Are we clear about that? I gave you my reasons and I stand by it,” the Dutchman said on the radio when the team asked him to swap positions with Mexican driver.

Leclerc is now ahead in second, but level on points with Perez in third.

Fernando Alonso was fifth with Alpine team-mate Esteban Ocon in eight. Valtteri Bottas of Alfa Romeo and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll completed the top 10.

German drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mick Schumacher were 11th and 13th respectively. While Vettel is to retire at the end of the year, Schumacher hasn’t received a new contract from Haas so far.