Max wins sprint race in Sao Paulo: 'We managed quite well'
Published on 04 November 2023 by Kees-Jan Koster
Max Verstappen took victory in the sprint race at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace. Starting from second on the grid, the three-time world champion immediately overtook polesitter Lando Norris, who finished second. Sergio Perez, in the second Oracle Red Bull Racing car, secured third place after multiple battles.
“It was of course important to get ahead at the start”, says Max. “The initial launch was not great, but the second part of the start was amazing, and we got past Lando. Then it was all about management, the tyres are wearing a lot on this track. 24 laps on one tyre set is very long, so I tried to maintain a constant lap time. We managed the race quite well.”
Max continues: “Last year was very difficult for us. Today was much better. Nobody could push flat out, to keep the tyres under control. We did that well today.” Are you encouraged by your pace today for a potential victory tomorrow? “It is a great start, and we learned a lot during the sprint race. Hopefully we can do something similar tomorrow.”
Except for the Haas cars and Logan Sargeant, everyone starts the sprint race on soft tyres. From second on the grid, Max has the best start and immediately overtakes Lando Norris when entering the first corner. George Russell is also fast from the start and overtakes Sergio Peres and not much later also Norris. The Mexican Red Bull Racing driver is also overtaken by Lewis Hamilton and falls back into P5. Max is in the lead, ahead of Russell and Norris.
Perez has taken back fourth place from Hamilton at the beginning of lap four, but Hamilton is not giving up, giving Charles Leclerc a chance to join the fight. Norris can overtake Russell with the help of DRS and regaines second position. Perez overtakes Russell when starting lap six, but a couple of corners later the roles are reversed again. Two laps later Perez manages to overtake the Mercedes of Russell and hold on to second position.
Daniel Ricciardo in his AlphaTauri and the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz are fighting for P8 and the final point to score in the sprint race. The Australian is briefly ahead of the Spaniard but cannot hold on to the position. This scenario is repeated in lap fourteen, but then Ricciardo loses another place when he is overtaken by Oscar Piastri.
Max and his team decide to up the pace a bit, especially in the high speed corners, as Norris stays within one and a half seconds of the Dutchman. Leclerc overtakes Hamilton in lap 21 relatively easy for P5. Then Yuki Tsunoda is also gaining on the Brit. The Japanese driver overtakes the seven-time world champion who falls back into sixth position.
Max wins the sprint race, more than four seconds ahead of Norris. Perez finishes in third place, ahead of Russell, Leclerc and Tsunoda. Hamilton finishes in seventh position, narrowly ahead of Sains, who takes the finial point.
|1||Max Verstappen||VER||Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT||24||30:07.209||8|
|2||Lando Norris||NOR||McLaren Mercedes||24||+4.287s||7|
|3||Sergio Perez||PER||Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT||24||+13.617s||6|
|6||Yuki Tsunoda||TSU||AlphaTauri Honda RBPT||24||+29.210s||3|
|9||Daniel Ricciardo||RIC||AlphaTauri Honda RBPT||24||+35.303s||0|
|10||Oscar Piastri||PIA||McLaren Mercedes||24||+38.219s||0|
|11||Fernando Alonso||ALO||Aston Martin Mercedes||24||+39.061s||0|
|12||Lance Stroll||STR||Aston Martin Mercedes||24||+39.478s||0|
|13||Pierre Gasly||GAS||Alpine Renault||24||+40.621s||0|
|14||Esteban Ocon||OCO||Alpine Renault||24||+42.848s||0|
|15||Alexander Albon||ALB||Williams Mercedes||24||+43.394s||0|
|16||Kevin Magnussen||MAG||Haas Ferrari||24||+56.507s||0|
|17||Zhou Guanyu||ZHO||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||24||+58.723s||0|
|18||Nico Hulkenberg||HUL||Haas Ferrari||24||+60.330s||0|
|19||Valtteri Bottas||BOT||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||24||+60.749s||0|
|20||Logan Sargeant||SAR||Williams Mercedes||24||+60.945s||0|