Sao Paulo GP: George Russell is an F1 winner! | Top Gear
BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear
Subscribe to Top Gear magazine
Sign up to our Top Gear Magazine
Friday 22nd September
Formula One

Sao Paulo GP: George Russell is an F1 winner!

George Russell took a sensational first win in Brazil with Lewis Hamilton just behind to make it a Mercedes 1-2

Published: 14 Nov 2022

It’s like when Pokemon evolve isn’t it? Mr Saturday has become Mr Sunday at last, with George Russell taking his first ever victory in F1 with a supreme drive from pole at the Brazilian Grand Prix to end a Mercedes’ win drought stretching back to December last year.

It’s been a long time coming for the 24-year-old from Kings Lynn, who spent his first three years in the sport at the back of the field with Williams and agonisingly missed out on a maiden victory in 2020, subbing in for an ill Lewis Hamilton at the Sakhir Grand Prix.

Advertisement - Page continues below

Back then a dodgy pit stop and a puncture robbed him of a stunning win, and history very nearly repeated itself at Interlagos as the McLaren of Lando Norris came to a halt in the closing stages, bringing out the safety car and costing Russell his comfortable lead.

But at the restart teammate Hamilton - who recovered from an early collision with Max Versrappen, for which the double world champion was handed a five second-penalty - had no answer to Russell’s pace, and had to settle for securing the team an unlikely 1-2. Remember this is the “brutal” W13 that was porpoising like, well, a porpoise at the start of the season and leaving both drivers in significant pain.

“What an amazing feeling,” said Russell afterwards. “A huge thank you to the whole team for making this possible. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster, this season, this race.

“On the in-lap, all of these memories came flooding back, starting off with my Mum and Dad in go-karting, and all the support I’ve had from the rest of my family, my girlfriend, my trainer, my manager. I can’t thank everyone enough.”

Advertisement - Page continues below

Behind him of course there was more action than you could shake a stick at: McLaren had a day to forget as both drivers took out other cars and eventually retired, with little hope now of overhauling Alpine in the standings. There were tasty wheel-to-wheel battles throughout the field, and at the end Verstappen caused a stir by refusing to hand P6 back to Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez to aid the Mexican’s bid to finish second in the drivers’ championship. It’s fair to say that left Perez rather annoyed: “It shows who he really is,” he said on the radio.

And let’s not forget the minor footnote that, um, KEVIN MAGNUSSEN PUT A HAAS ON POLE for the Saturday’s Sprint race (which itself was full of action). The Dane wasn’t even meant to be on the grid this year and yet he emerged from a chaotic qualifying session in Brazil as the only driver to nail a lap on slicks in Q3. What a bunch of legends.

There’s one race left to go: bring on Abu Dhabi next weekend.

Top Gear

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

More from Top Gear

See more on Formula One

Promoted Content

Subscribe to the Top Gear Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, you agree to receive news, promotions and offers by email from Top Gear and BBC Studios. Your information will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

BBC TopGear

Try BBC Top Gear Magazine

Get your first 5 issues for £5