Verstappen Dominates 2023 Sao Paulo Sprint

(Image credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

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.


Sprint Shootout


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.

Position Driver Team Time
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


Sprint Race

(Image credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

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.

Position Driver Team Laps Time
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

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