Mercedes’ George Russell will start 2022 Sao Paulo GP on pole after winning the Sprint Race.
Alpine’s Esteban Ocon topped a lively but largely quiet FP2 but come the start of the sprint race, it was Russell who set the pace as he initiall managed his tyres before passing Max Verstappen for the lead and victory.
Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton eventually rounded out the top three following a tense scrap which ultimately set the grid for the 2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
Now, here is a full roundup of all the action across FP2 and Sprint Race.
As is tradition on Sprint weekends, FP2 was used largely for race runs as teams opted to experiment with the tyre compounds ahead of the Sprint Race, with Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel being the first driver to hit the track.
Alfa Romeo’s Guanyu Zhou then Valtteri Bottas however set the initial pace in the opening five minutes but were soon displaced by Ferrari’s Charles Lelerc and Sainz, with Leclerc twice going fastest in the opening seven minutes.
Perez two minutes later briefly went top on hard tyres but Russell displaced him with 1m 15.115 on softs just moments later, as the Brit then found 0.199s on his next lap to go even quicker.
Alpine’s Esteban Ocon eventually topped the session from Perez and Russell with 1m 15.604 as the rest of the top ten compromised of; Fernando Alonso, Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton. Pierre Gasly, Mick Schumacher, Kevin Magnussen and Lando Norris.
Alonso, Magnussen and Norris however were the only drivers to set their fastest lap time on medium tyres.
|1||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||1m 15.604|
|2||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+ 0.184|
|3||George Russell||Mercedes||+ 0.312|
|4||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||+ 0.445|
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 0.494|
|6||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 0.533|
|7||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+ 1.032|
|8||Mick Schumacher||Haas||+ 1.080|
|9||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 1.211|
|10||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 1.247|
|11||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+ 1.252|
|12||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||+ 1.261|
|13||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 1.264|
|14||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||+ 1.390|
|15||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.443|
|16||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 1.577|
|17||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+ 1.659|
|18||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+ 1.796|
|19||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.864|
|20||Logan Sargeant||Williams||+ 1.876|
At lights out, Magnussen got a clean start on soft tyres ahead of Verstappen on mediums who had to fend off Russell, with the Brit having started on soft tyres as the latter pair cleared Magnussen by Lap Four with Verstappen quickly speeding away into the lead.
Sainz meanwhile cleared Norris on the second lap and managed to pass Magnussen on Lap Four, which set up a frantic tussle with Verstappen and Russell.
Further behind the front runners, Ocon and Alonso collided on the opening lap at Turn 4 as they scrapped over sixth, with the latter breaking his front wing which ruined his race as he recovered from a pit stop to 15th at the checkered flag.
Hamilton consequently benefitted from their scrap and subsequent damage as he quickly worked his way past the Alpine duo then Norris and Magnussen by the start of Lap 6, which led to a four-way scrap for the win unfolding up front.
Verstappen initially looked comfortable on medium tyres and on course for a comfortable win but Russell managed his soft tyres, which paid dividends as he reeled the two-time champion in by Lap 11 and the pair duelled hard as Verstappen relentlessly squeezed the Brit.
Russell’s efforts eventually paid off despite losing DRS on Lap 14 under yellow flags as he passed Verstappen into Turn 4 a lap later to seize the lead and maiden victory in F1, as the Dutchman began to struggle on his medium tyres and fell into the clutches of Sainz.
Sainz however clipped Verstappen’s front wing as he dived down the inside of Senna S on Lap 19 to secure second, which enabled Hamilton to follow through on the following lap after hussling Verstappen around for the entire lap.
Perez, Leclerc, Norris, Magnussen, Vettel and Gasly rounded out the top ten although Vettel did survive a close encounter with his Aston Martin teammate, Lance Stroll who squeezed him onto the grass out of Turn 3 on Lap 9 and Stroll was punished with a 10 second time penalty to drop him to 17th.
Sainz though will start the Grand Prix from seventh after taking a five-place penalty for a new Internal Combustion Engine, meaning that Russell and Hamilton share a front-row in the first Mercedes front-row lockout of the season ahead of Verstappen, Perez, Leclerc and Norris.
Post-race, Alonso was hit with a five-second time penalty for clipping Ocon’s rear tyre in a separate collision following their first lap clash, which dropped him to 18th in classification plus two penalty points on his super license.
Gasly meanwhile was handed a warning for driving unnecessarily slowly on his reconnaissance lap to the grid.
In the drivers’ standings, Perez opened up a six-point lead over Leclerc in their scrap for second ahead of Russell, whilst Sainz trimmed his deficit to Hamilton to three points in their scrap for fifth.
|1||George Russell||Mercedes||24||30m 11.307|
|2||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||24||+ 3.995|
|3||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||24||+ 4.492|
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||24||+ 10.494|
|5||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||24||+ 11.855|
|6||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||24||+ 13.133|
|7||Lando Norris||McLaren||24||+ 25.624|
|8||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||24||+ 28.768|
|9||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||24||+ 30.218|
|10||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||24||+ 34.170|
|11||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||24||+ 39.395|
|12||Mick Schumacher||Haas||24||+ 41.159|
|13||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo||24||+ 41.763|
|14||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||24||+ 42.338|
|15||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||24||+ 50.306|
|16||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||24||+ 50.700|
|17||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||24||+ 51.756|
|18||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||24||+ 53.985|
|19||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||24||+ 76.850|