Formula 1: Verstappen also wins sprint races in Brazil

Sprint grouch Max Verstappen also won the short racing version in Brazil.

Formula 1: Verstappen also wins sprint races in Brazil

Sprint grouch Max Verstappen also won the short racing version in Brazil. After a strong start from second position, the 26-year-old Red Bull star relegated his British McLaren friend Lando Norris to second place on the legendary Interlagos circuit.

It was Verstappen's fourth victory in the sixth sprint race of the year. "It was important to get there right at the start. After that, it was all about managing the race," said the three-time Formula 1 world champion: "That worked out quite well."

The old and new world champion can further polish his Grand Prix record this Sunday (6 p.m./Sky) and extend his record series with the 17th win of the season in just one calendar year. “Great start to the weekend,” congratulated Red Bulls team boss Christian Horner via radio.

Verstappen's teammate Sergio Pérez from Mexico came third in the sprint ahead of George Russell in the Mercedes. Charles Leclerc came fourth in a Ferrari. Nico Hülkenberg, the only German regular driver, came 17th in the Haas.

The storm around 24 hours earlier had left its mark on the city, and they immediately began repair work on the route. Verstappen had secured pole position for the Grand Prix in qualifying before the knockout round was ended early and a cloudburst flooded the course. In the sprint qualifying before the short race interlude he was only beaten by Norris.

Verstappen prefers the classic races

24 laps, no tire changes, no tactics - for the sixth and last time this year there was a sprint, which Verstappen doesn't like at all. He prefers the classic races with significantly more kilometers. Of course, that couldn't stop him from overtaking Norris slightly up the hill at the start and driving into the Senna-S in front.

But it wasn't just Norris, who also passed Russell, who had problems, but also Pérez, who was overtaken by Hamilton. At least there were no collisions in the stressful first few kilometers.

Even after that, there was no breathing space during the sprint. Pérez passed Hamilton again, Norris passed Russell again, and the gaps initially remained small. Not even Dominator Verstappen was initially able to pull away on the circuit, which is known and notorious for good overtaking opportunities.

Hamilton struggles with very worn tires

After the initial position changes in the front areas, things calmed down a bit, Verstappen was between one and a half and two and a half seconds ahead of Norris, Pérez was over ten seconds behind Verstappen.

Record world champion and honorary citizen of Brazil Lewis Hamilton had to let Leclerc and Yuki Tsunoda pass in the final phase. The British superstar struggled with the badly worn tires on his Mercedes, while Verstappen ultimately finished the sprint with a lead of over four seconds over Norris. “It just wasn’t enough for Max,” said Norris.