Mercedes-Benz AMG's George Russell secured his maiden win on Sunday at an action-packed 2022 Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix, held at São Paulo's Autódromo José Carlos Pace.
Lewis Hamilton finished second to make it a Mercedes one-two finish, while Ferrari's Carlos Sainz rounded out the top three.
Russell started the race on the pole after a brilliant run in Saturday's sprint race qualifier, and was joined at the front by Hamilton after sprint-race second-placer Sainz took a five-place grid penalty for swapping in a new power unit. Immediately behind the Mercedes duo were Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez in third and fourth.
Things went smoothly until McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo ran into the back of Haas' Kevin Magnussen, which brought out the safety car. The race restarted on lap seven, with Russell in the lead and Verstappen in third attempting to move into second by overtaking Hamilton. The two came into contact, with Hamilton getting pushed off the track and Verstappen needing to pit for a new front wing. Verstappen was later handed a five-second penalty by the stewards.
After dropping down to 17th, Verstappen started to fight his way back up the order, while Hamilton at this point was in second, behind Russell. By the time Verstappen was in 12th, Hamilton made his first stop, emerging at third, behind Perez in second and Russell in the lead. Perez did his best to hold off Hamilton but eventually lost the position on lap 44 due to older tires.
Sergio Perez at the 2022 Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix
Perez eventually stopped to swap for medium tires and then his luck ran out when McLaren's Lando Norris stopped on the track on lap 52 due to a loss of power, requiring the virtual safety car to be called. Trouble getting Norris off the track then caused the actual safety car to come out on lap 55.
Lapped cars were permitted to overtake the safety car on lap 58 and the race resumed on lap 60, with a number of the leaders having swapped to soft tires. After the restart, Perez on his mediums soon lost positions to Alpine's Fernando Alonso, Sainz, and fellow Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, with the Red Bull driver falling back to sixth.
Verstappen meanwhile was in seventh and was given team orders to pass Perez to fight the drivers ahead and deny them from taking more points from Perez, who remains in the fight for second in the championship with Leclerc. However, the team orders had the condition that Verstappen would need to give back the position to Perez if he failed to make ground, which Verstappen later failed to do.
The team then asked Verstappen to give sixth position back to Perez but he refused the order, later stating he had his reasons. Verstappen, who is already the 2022 champion, eventually finished sixth, with Perez in seventh.
The teams now head to Abu Dhabi for the final round of the 2022 season, which takes place this weekend. In the Drivers' Championship, Verstappen sits on 429 points, ahead of Leclerc and Perez who both have 290 points. However, Leclerc is currently ranked second because he has more wins this season. In the Constructors' Championship, Red Bull sits on 719 points, versus the 524 of Ferrari and 505 of Mercedes.
Geoerge Russell at the 2022 Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix
Below are the full results from the 2022 Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix:
1) George Russell, Mercedes-Benz AMG
2) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-Benz AMG +1.529 seconds
3) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari +4.051 seconds
4) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari +8.441 seconds
5) Fernando Alonso, Alpine +9.561 seconds
6) Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing +10.056 seconds
7) Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing +14.080 seconds
8) Esteban Ocon, Alpine +18.690 seconds
9) Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo +22.552 seconds
10) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin +23.552 seconds
11) Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin +26.183 seconds
12) Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo +29.325 seconds
13) Mick Schumacher, Haas +29.899 seconds
14) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri +31.867 seconds
15) Alex Albon, Williams +36.016 seconds
16) Nicholas Latifi, Williams +37.038 seconds
17) Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri +1 lap
NC) Lando Norris, McLaren - DNF
NC) Kevin Magnussen, Haas - DNF
NC) Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren - DNF