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Sao Paulo GP: Max Verstappen holds off Lando Norris in action-packed Sprint at Interlagos

Max Verstappen claimed his fourth Sprint win of the 2023 F1 season as Lando Norris lost out to the Red Bull driver at the start; there were plenty of battles behind the leading two; watch the Sao Paulo GP at 5pm on Sunday, with build-up from 3.30pm, live on Sky Sports F1

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There was a dramatic start to the Sao Paulo Sprint with multiple overtakes on the opening lap

Max Verstappen held off Lando Norris in an action-packed Sprint at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix in Interlagos.

Norris started from pole position but was beaten off the line by Verstappen, who dived down the inside at Turn One to take the lead and never relinquished first place on his way to a fourth Sprint win of the year.

Sergio Perez lost out to George Russell and Lewis Hamilton at the start but was able to fight back to his original starting position of third, with Russell taking fourth.

Mercedes struggled for race pace despite strong starts from both Russell and Hamilton, as the latter was overtaken by Charles Leclerc and Yuki Tsunoda in the remaining five laps, so ended up in seventh.

Carlos Sainz came out on top in a battle with Daniel Ricciardo to claim eighth and the final point of the Sprint.

Sao Paulo GP Sprint Result
1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull (8 points)
2) Lando Norris, McLaren (7 points)
3) Sergio Perez, Red Bull (6 points)
4) George Russell, Mercedes (5 points)
5) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari (4 points)
6) Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri (3 points)
7) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes (2 points)
8) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari (1 point)
9) Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri
10) Oscar Piastri, McLaren

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Max Verstappen claimed his fourth Sprint victory of the season ahead of second-placed Lando Norris in Sao Paulo.

Norris unable to get back past Verstappen

After getting the jump on Norris at the start, Verstappen controlled the race but faced some pressure from the McLaren driver in the middle of the Sprint.

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Russell dived down the inside of Norris at the Turn 10 hairpin on the opening lap, but the latter was back ahead on Lap 5 and began his charge to attack Verstappen.

The gap swung between one and two seconds until the final five laps when Verstappen began to pull away due to superior tyre wear.

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Lando Norris retakes second spot in the Sprint as he overtakes George Russell in Sao Paulo

"It was of course important to try and get ahead at the start. The initial launch wasn't amazing but the second part of the start was very good so we got alongside [Norris]," said Verstappen.

"Then it was all about management. Here at this track there is a lot of deg, the tyres are wearing a lot, so 24 laps on one tyre set is very long so just trying to maintain a constant lap time and I think we managed the race quite well out there.

"Last year was very difficult for us around here so today it was much better. But it's still, for everyone out there, you can't push flat out. It's about keeping the tyres under control and I think we did that well today."

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A deflated Toto Wolff reflects on a challenging sprint session at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

Big battle behind leading pair

Perez had to fight hard for third in the Sprint after a poor start at Interlagos. The Mexican traded positions with Hamilton having to concede fourth place to Perez on the run to Turn 1 on the fourth lap.

Russell was next up the road for Perez and it took a couple of laps for the Red Bull driver to complete the move after the pair went wheel to wheel on several occasions.

Hamilton suffered more with tyre wear than team-mate Russell and was struggling in the slow-speed corners. He had a long train behind him with Leclerc, Tsunoda, Sainz, Ricciardo, Oscar Piastri, Pierre Gasly and Fernando Alonso all within DRS of each other.

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Fernando Alonso completes a 'hard fought and well won place' as he overtakes Pierre Gasly in his Aston Martin for eleventh place in the Sao Paulo Sprint

It looked like Hamilton was going to hold onto fifth, but Leclerc breezed by on the home straight with four laps to go, as did Tsunoda a lap later.

Ricciardo and Sainz exchanged positions multiple times as the Interlagos circuit continued to produce great racing. Sainz prevailed and Ricciardo held off compatriot Piastri, who swapped places with Alonso twice on the final lap to take 10th place.

When to watch the Sao Paulo GP live only on Sky Sports F1

Sunday November 5

  • 3.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday: Sao Paulo GP build-up
  • 7pm: Chequered Flag: Sao Paulo GP reaction
  • 8pm: Ted's Notebook

F1 is in Brazil for the final leg of the Americas triple header. Watch the Sao Paulo Grand Prix live on Sky Sports F1, with Sunday's race at 5pm. Stream F1 on Sky Sports with NOW

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