George Russell won his first Grand Prix race on Sunday after a crash-packed race in Brazil.
Russell, who won Saturday’s sprint to pole position, drove off the opening lap, explaining why he is seen as one of the most exciting prospects in Formula 1.
But behind him, there was a crazy race unfolding with accidents from the opening lap, including a contender between contenders Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, in which Verstappen was awarded a five-second penalty.
At the end of all the drama it was a Mercedes one and two as Hamilton finished second behind Russell and Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz in third.
With one race remaining on the 2022 calendar, Russell is up to fourth in the drivers’ standings, a place ahead of eight-time world champion and teammate Hamilton.
“What a great feeling. Huge thanks to the entire team for making this possible, Russell then said. “It’s been an emotional rollercoaster this season.
“This race, I felt in control. Lewis was so fast, and when I saw the safety car, I thought: ‘Oh Jesus, that’s going to be a really tough end.’ He put me under a lot of pressure. But very happy to go with the victory.
“I’m speechless, in my lap all these memories kind of go back in time, starting with my mom and dad in karting, continuing with all the support I’ve had from the rest of my family my girlfriend, my coach, my manager. I can’t thank them enough. Yeah Very proud.”
The race started with some exciting and crash-packed first few laps at Autódromo José Carlos Pace.
First, Daniel Ricciardo hit Kevin Magnussen’s rear, with both drivers disqualified for the rest of the race as a result of his damage.
After the restart that followed the safety car, all hell broke out.
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen collided soon after, both spinning. Hamilton was able to carry on without pitting while Verstappen had to dig before returning to the race near the back of the group.
“That was not a teammate in a racing accident,” Hamilton can be heard saying on his team radio.
Minutes later, it was announced that Verstappen had received a five-second penalty for causing a collision.
The Dutch driver could not hide his suspicions when he was told the outcome of the investigation. “Where did they expect me to go?” He said.
Elsewhere, McLaren driver Lando Norris crashed into Charles Leclerc, and crashed into the Ferrari driver in the barriers.
Leclerc was forced to change his front wing, while Norris received a five-second penalty for his involvement in the accident.
As for Russell, who started the race in the pole position, he remained unscathed through the early laps and managed to hold his lead the rest of the way in front of the chase group.
Even with a safety car late in the pack, Russell was faster than his more experienced teammate Hamilton, racing home for his first-ever Grand Prix win.
The victory in the penultimate race of 2022 continues with Mercedes’ re-emergence late in the year after a very slow start.