July 23, 2024

At the Brazilian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen easily defeated Lando Norris’s challenge after enduring some early drama. This was his fourth consecutive victory.

The world champion increased his record of victories to 17 at Interlagos, just after breaking his own record for the most wins in a single Formula 1 season.

After a wild first lap, though, it was far from easy sailing as multiple drivers crashed out and retired, strewing debris and raising the red flags.

After spinning out during the formation lap, second-place qualifier Charles Leclerc was the first to leave the race and never made it to the starting line.

Except for Norris’s valiant attempt to pass, Verstappen was largely unharmed by the absence of the second Ferrari on the grid and skillfully navigated his Red Bull home.

After regaining the lead and overcoming Sergio Perez’s push in the last lap, Fernando Alonso made his podium comeback for the first time since the Netherlands.

Lance Stroll, the Aston Martin driver under fire, finished fifth behind Perez, and Carlos Sainz, the only other Ferrari competitor to finish, took sixth.

The top ten was completed by Pierre Gasly, Lewis Hamilton, Yuki Tsunoda, and Esteban Ocon. George Russell retired on a terrible afternoon for Mercedes.

Opening lap chaos

Leclerc was left dejected before the race had even begun, having been forced into the earliest of retirements after suffering a failure and crashing.

After pulling away from second looking to pump heat into his tyres, Leclerc suddenly spun after losing his hydraulics and thumped into the wall.

“Why am I so unlucky?” he asked over team radio before returning to the garage.

After a short wait, Verstappen made a fantastic start into Turn One, while Norris rocketed into the distance to take second place ahead of Hamilton.

In the rear, though, there were several instances where the red flags were raised.

Oscar Piastri was then clipped by Nico Hulkenberg after Alex Albon made contact with him and forced him deeper into Kevin Magnussen’s other Haas.

Piastri hobbled back to the garage so that McLaren’s engineers could try their hardest to repair the damage while Albon and Magnussen were forced out of the race

Daniel Ricciardo proved to be collateral damage, too, with a stray tyre carcass spinning into the air and clipping his rear wing. He was able to continue, however.

Podium scraps

Verstappen maintained his early lead from the restart, which helped him hold off Norris at Turn One. Hamilton locked up in the first corner but managed to hold third place.

Alonso maneuvered his Aston Martin through the Senna S and alongside Hamilton, leaving the door ajar, and then used the brakes to overtake.

At the front, Norris opened his rear wing to stay on the tail of Verstappen, who was forced to defend stoutly in both DRS zones at the start of lap eight.

For a split second, it appeared Norris was lining up an audacious overtake, only for his McLaren and his significantly degraded soft tyres to slip comfortably adrift.

In ruthless fashion, Verstappen extended his lead to over the two-second mark. As the race unfolded, the world champion’s advantage continued to tick ever upward.

More Mercedes misery

Compounding Mercedes’ frustration across the entirety of the race weekend, Russell, languishing behind Hamilton, urged his team-mate to speed up.

With the team pondering over making a change, though, Russell dropped out of DRS range of his sparring partner and promptly paid a costly price.

Perez, on his rise from ninth place, gobbled him up at Turn One, leading an exasperated Russell to ask whether Mercedes were “working as a team”.

Hamilton was then dispatched by Perez, again at the first corner.

Both Mercedes drivers pitted to bolt on medium tyres, with Perez following to avoid the undercut. He emerged sandwiched between the Silver Arrows.

But in a throwback to his more daring form earlier this year, Perez completed a pass on Hamilton and moved up into P7, the podium spots firmly in his sights.

With the Mercedes pairing stuttering along on their mediums, Sainz, the lone Ferrari, found them easy pickings and passed both in quick succession to take P6.

Action hots up
Piling home the misery for the struggling heavyweights, Pierre Gasly was the next to cruise beyond Russell and later passed the similarly stuttering Hamilton.

Closer to the front, Alonso, jostling for the final podium place behind Verstappen and Perez and fresh from a stint protecting his tyres, re-opened his gap on Perez.

Trailing by around 3s, Perez pitted in a bid to undercut the veteran but his push petered out in agonising fashion during a last-gasp dash to the chequered flag.

With the finish line in sight, the duo battled it out in a jaw-dropping drag race, though the Aston Martin emerged on top by a nose to thrill the crowd.

Russell retired, meanwhile, the sixth to do so on an action-packed weekend.

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