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Max Verstappen sixth in Brazilian Grand Prix after clash with Hamilton: 'Unfortunate'

Published on 13 November 2022 by Kees-Jan Koster

Max Verstappen finished sixth in the Brazilian Grand Prix. Max was in third position after the start and tried to overtake Lewis Hamilton at the restart after the first safety car. Both drivers came together and Max had to pit for a new front wing, causing him to fall right to the back. After the incident he was able to move back up into the top ten. A second safety car period brought the whole field back together. With eleven laps to go, Max could fight himself back into P6. George Russell, who started from pole, drove an outstanding race, and took the first victory in his Formula 1 career. Lewis Hamilton completed the party for Mercedes by finishing second. Carlos Sainz completed the podium.

After the race Max says about the incident with Hamilton: “It was a bit unfortunate. I tried to go on the outside and saw that he had no intention to give me space, so we both went off and I had front wing damage. In the end of the day, we were too slow anyway, so there was not a lot we could have done. We tried to move up, but we had too much tyre degradation.”

For the incident with Hamilton, Verstappen was given a five second time penalty, according to the Dutchman this was not right: “I do not agree with the five second penalty, but in the end, it did not really make a difference.”

Because of the safety car Max was able to close up to the drivers in front of him, according to Verstappen this helped him to finish sixth: “Probably because of the safety car we were able to take one or two extra places, but sixth or eighth does not really make a difference.”

It is warm and sunny at the start of the penultimate Grand Prix of the season at the Autodromo José Carlos Pace in São Paulo. Max starts from P3, behind both Mercedes from George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, after a mildly disappointing sprint race. The top four starts on the soft tyres, while Charles Leclerc, starting from P5, is the first driver on the medium compound tyres. At the start Max keeps his third place behind leader Russell and Hamilton. Sergio Perez is in fourth position with behind him Lando Norris in P5. In the midfield, Daniel Ricciardo clashes with Kevin Magnussen in turn eight. The Danish driver goes backwards into the side of Ricciardo, who ends up into the tyre barriers. Both drivers get out of their cars unharmed and form the first to retire from the race. The safety car is deployed.

In lap seven the field is released. Verstappen is alert at the restart and tries to overtake Hamilton on the outside of turn one. The drivers then clash in turn two. Max loses part of his front wing and has to come to the pits to get a new one, while Hamilton falls back into eight position. At turn seven, Charles Leclerc tries to overtake Lando Norris on the outside. The McLaren driver touches the rear of the Ferrari, causing Leclerc to spin and end into the tyre barriers. The Monegasque loses his front wing but can return to the pits.

Both Verstappen and Norris get a five second time penalty for their part in the incidents. Verstappen is in P17, after pitting for a new front wing, with Leclerc in P18 behind him. Russell is in the lead, followed by Perez and Sainz. The damage to Hamilton’s car appears minor, and within a couple of laps he is back into P4.

Perez is the first driver in the top three to make his pit stop in lap 24. One lap later Verstappen also comes into the pits. He takes his five second penalty and swaps his medium compound tyres for a set of softs. Max comes back out on track in seventeenth position. It takes till lap 41 for him to be back into the top ten.

Hamilton overtakes Perez in lap 45 for P2. The Brit is now behind his teammate. Verstappen makes a third pitstop in lap 49. With a fresh set of soft tyres on his RB18, the Dutchman comes back out on track in eleventh position.

In lap 53, Lando Norris must stop his McLaren with technical issues on the side of the track at turn ten. The Brit is the third to retire from the race. A safety car follows, bringing the whole field back together. Russell is still in the lead, followed by teammate Hamilton, with Perez in P3 and Verstappen in P10.

With eleven laps to go, the safety car goes back in. Max overtakes Vettel for P9, while Russell holds on to the lead in front of Hamilton and Perez. The Ferraris, on soft tyres, are putting the pressure on to Perez, who is still on medium tyres. Sainz overtakes Perez in lap 63, while Leclerc follows his example one lap later. Alonso also overtakes Perez, putting the Mexican in front of Verstappen. Max is a lot faster than Perez and he overtakes his teammate in lap 67 for P6. Max closes in on Alonso, but narrowly comes short to overtake the Spaniard, with which Verstappen finishes the race in sixth position. In the lead, George Russell takes his first Formula 1 victory. It is also the first win for Mercedes this season. Lewis Hamilton makes it into a one-two for the silver arrows. The Ferraris of Sainz and Leclerc finish in P3 and P4, with Ferando Alonso in a fine fifth. Sergo Perez finishes behind his Red Bull Racing teammate in P7, while Esteban Ocon, Valtteri Bottas and Lance Stroll complete the top ten.

Results Grand Prix Brazil:

1George RussellRUSMercedes711:38:34.04426
2Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes71+1.529s18
3Carlos SainzSAIFerrari71+4.051s15
4Charles LeclercLECFerrari71+8.441s12
5Fernando AlonsoALOAlpine Renault71+9.561s10
6Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing RBPT71+10.056s8
7Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing RBPT71+14.080s6
8Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault71+18.690s4
9Valtteri BottasBOTAlfa Romeo Ferrari71+22.552s2
10Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes71+23.552s1
11Sebastian VettelVETAston Martin Mercedes71+26.183s0
12Zhou GuanyuZHOAlfa Romeo Ferrari71+29.325s0
13Mick SchumacherMSCHaas Ferrari71+29.899s0
14Pierre GaslyGASAlphaTauri RBPT71+31.867s0
15Alexander AlbonALBWilliams Mercedes71+36.016s0
16Nicholas LatifiLATWilliams Mercedes71+37.038s0
17Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri RBPT70+1 lap0
0Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes50DNF0
0Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari0DNF0
0Daniel RicciardoRICMcLaren Mercedes0DNF0