Max Verstappen dominated the 2023 Sao Paulo Sprint in Intelagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
McLaren’s Lando Norris claimed pole position for the Sprint in a fiercely competitive Sprint Shootout, but Verstappen was able to seize the lead at race start and sprinted away to a fourth sprint win of the season ahead of the Brit who finished second.
Now, here is a roundup of 2023 Sao Paulo Sprint Shootout and Sprint Race.
Verstappen was first out on track after everyone initially stayed in the pits in the opening minute and set the benchmark time of 1m 11.888 on medium tyres, with only Sainz and Hamilton bettering his lap time on opening runs.
Once everyone had completed their lap time come the eighth minute, Lance Stroll, Guanyu Zhou, Alex Albon, Yuki Tsunoda and Logan Sargeant sat in the elimination zone.
As the checkered flag fell, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon spun out at Turn 3 with 33 seconds left on the clock which brought out the red flag, after he suffered oversteering out of the Senna S and slid across into the left side of Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin then barriers.
Tsunoda however got his final lap just in prior to the stoppage which eliminated Ocon in 16th position, ahead of Stroll, Zhou, Albon and Sargeant who failed to get their final laps in.
Ocon’s incident also meant that Sainz topped SS1 with 1m 11.796 ahead of Hamilton.
After a 28 minute delay following the end of SS1, Verstappen and Perez again were first out on track and it was the former who set the pace, as the Dutchman posted 1m 11.448 again on medium tyres as the benchmark time which nobody could better on their first flying laps.
Daniel Ricciardo, Pierre Gasly, Valtteri Bottas and Tsunoda opted to do just one flying lap at the end of the session, whilst Alonso didn’t participate in the segment due to heavy damage from Ocon’s collision.
As the checked flag fell, there was a forward step in track evolution as Norris emerged quickest with 1m 11.221, ahead of Perez by 0.009s.
Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg meanwhile were eliminated in 11th and 12th positions, ahead of Gasly and Bottas with Alonso set to start the sprint from 15th on the grid.
A quiet start to the final segment of the Sprint Shootout saw nobody opt to venture out for an early opening run – including Tsunoda and Ricciardo who both had plenty of fresh soft tyres for two runs.
McLaren’s Oscar Piastri was eventually first out onto track in the fifth minute and set the benchmark time of 1m 11.189 but that time proved slowest, as his teammate – Norris claimed pole for the Sprint with 1m 10.622 ahead of Verstappen and Sergio Perez.
George Russell, Lewis Hamilton, Tsunoda, Charles Leclerc, Ricciardo and Sainz rounded out the top nine.
|1||Lando Norris||McLaren||1m 10.622|
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 0.061|
|3||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+ 0.134|
|4||George Russell||Mercedes||+ 0.235|
|5||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 0.318|
|6||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||+ 0.397|
|7||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 0.455|
|8||Daniel Ricciardo||AlphaTauri||+ 0.500|
|9||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+ 0.504|
|10||Oscar Piastri||McLaren||+ 0.567|
|11||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||1m 11.727|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Haas||+ 0.025|
|13||Pierre Gasly||Alpine||+ 0.095|
|14||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||+ 0.145|
|15||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin||No Time|
|16||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||1m 12.388|
|17||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+ 0.094|
|18||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo||+ 0.109|
|19||Alex Albon||Williams||+ 0.137|
|20||Logan Sargeant||Williams||+ 0.227|
At lights out, Norris got a clean start but Verstappen took advantage of having the inside line from second on the grid to brake late into the opening corner, which handed the three-time champion the lead as Norris then lost second to Russell at Turn 10.
Russell and Hamilton earlier that lap had demoted Perez to fifth whilst Leclerc and Sainz jumped Tsunoda and Ricciardo for sixth and eighth respectively.
Verstappen fought off Russell’s early challenge and the Brit found himself repassed by Norris on Lap 5 into the Senna S, before Perez eventually followd through on Lap 10 for third after he briefly passed on Lap 8 but was repassed later that lap – having cleared Hamilton earlier on Lap 4 for fourth.
Ricciardo meanwhile unsuccessfully attempted two overtakes on Sainz for eighth on Laps 12 and 14, which cost him ninth on the latter lap to Piastri, whilst Alonso had recovered from 15th to 11th by the end of Lap 15.
Verstappen eventually clung on for his fourth sprint victory of the season ahead of Norris and Perez who rounded out the top three ahead of Russell, whilst Leclerc and Tsunoda passed Hamilton on Laps 21 and 22 for fifth and sixth as the Brit fought off Sainz for seventh,
In the drivers’ standings, Perez extended his gap over Hamilton in their fight for second to 24 points, whilst eight points covers Sainz, Alonso and Norris in their scrap over fourth.
|1||Max Verstappn||Red Bull||24||30m 07.209|
|2||Lando Norris||McLaren||24||+ 4.287|
|3||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||24||+ 13.617|
|4||George Russell||Mercedes||24||+ 25.879|
|5||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||24||+ 28.560|
|6||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||24||+ 29.210|
|7||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||24||+ 34.726|
|8||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||24||+ 35.106|
|9||Daniel Ricciardo||AlphaTauri||24||+ 35.303|
|10||Oscar Piastri||McLaren||24||+ 38.219|
|11||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin||24||+ 39.061|
|12||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||24||+ 39.478|
|13||Pierre Gasly||Alpine||24||+ 40.621|
|14||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||24||+ 42.848|
|15||Alex Albon||Williams||24||+ 43.394|
|16||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||24||+ 56.507|
|17||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo||24||+ 58.723|
|18||Nico Hulkenberg||Haas||24||+ 60.330|
|19||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||24||+ 60.749|
|20||Logan Sargeant||Williams||24||+ 60.945|