Russell and Hamilton plan to work together to deliver Sao Paulo GP win


Russell overtook Max Verstappen’s Red Bull to finish first in Saturday’s Sprint, as Hamilton drove through the field to join him on the front row; Watch the Sao Paulo Grand Prix live on Sky Sports with coverage from 4.30pm and lights out at 6pm on Sunday

Last Updated: 12/11/22 9:43pm

'That's how we roll': George Russell crossed the line first in Saturday's Sprint

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‘That’s how we roll’: George Russell crossed the line first in Saturday’s Sprint

‘That’s how we roll’: George Russell crossed the line first in Saturday’s Sprint

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton plan to work together to stay ahead of Max Verstappen and secure a first win of the season in Sao Paulo.

The Mercedes duo earned their first front-row lockout as team-mates after Russell overtook world champion Verstappen to take victory in Saturday’s Sprint, while Hamilton battled from eighth on the grid to finish third.

Carlos Sainz’ five-place grid penalty sees Hamilton promoted to second on the grid for Sunday’s race and Russell expects Mercedes to use different strategies to neutralise the Red Bull threat behind.

“It is crazy to think we are both starting on the front row and Lewis did a great job coming from P8 so it is exciting,” he said after claiming the first “win” of his F1 career.

Russell overtook Max Verstappen after a thrilling battle

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Russell overtook Max Verstappen after a thrilling battle

Russell overtook Max Verstappen after a thrilling battle

“I am sure Max is going to be flying on Sunday coming through the pack, but we are in a luxury position and can maybe split the strategy and go for the win.”

Both Mercedes completed the 24-lap Sprint on soft tyres and clearly benefitted from Red Bull’s decision to start on mediums, passing Verstappen on laps 15 and 19 respectively.

However, Russell believes the upgrades the team has delivered in recent races was also a factor in their success in Brazil.

“We weren’t expecting to have that much pace, but it goes to show all the hard work we are putting in and the progress we as a team have made.

“These last three races since Austin, the car has been feeling great and it is difficult to know how Max would have got on if he had been on the soft tyres.”

Russell and Verstappen were involved in an epic battle for the lead

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Russell and Verstappen were involved in an epic battle for the lead

Russell and Verstappen were involved in an epic battle for the lead

He added on Sky Sports F1: “I am so proud of the work [the team] are putting in and it is such a morale booster going into the winter, regardless of the outcome on Sunday. It is a huge result for us.

“We are definitely making steps forward and we are definitely surprised as a team at how competitive we have been.”

Hamilton has eyes on a Mercedes one-two

Hamilton also overtook Verstappen towards the end of the Sprint

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Hamilton also overtook Verstappen towards the end of the Sprint

Hamilton also overtook Verstappen towards the end of the Sprint

Hamilton has only two races left in 2022 to preserve his proud record of winning a Grand Prix in every season of his F1 career.

He also believes he and Russell can team up to withstand the threat of Verstappen in third and deliver a victory in Brazil, a country where he became an honorary citizen earlier this week.

“I am so, so happy to be here, it has been an incredible week,” Hamilton said.

“This just goes back to everyone back at the factory, everyone working here on the ground who have been working so hard this year. This is an amazing result. To be on the front row is incredible.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton praises his team-mate George Russell in winning the Sprint at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix

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Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton praises his team-mate George Russell in winning the Sprint at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton praises his team-mate George Russell in winning the Sprint at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix

“From there, we should be able to work as a team and hopefully hold off the guys behind. We are going to try as hard as we can.

“If we can get some good degradation and some good weather, we could have a good fight on our hands.

“A win here for Brazil would be incredible.”

He added on Sky Sports F1 that Mercedes were hoping not only to win the race, but to finish in the top two positions on the podium.

“This is a dream result,” he said.

“This is what everyone at the factory has been working so hard for so a big, big thank you to everybody for just persevering.

“We will work the hardest we can tomorrow to give them that one-two that they truly deserve.”

Sao Paulo Grand Prix: Provisional starting top 10:

1) George Russell, Mercedes

2) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

3) Max Verstappen, Red Bull

4) Sergio Perez, Red Bull

5) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

6) Lando Norris, McLaren

7) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari

8) Kevin Magnussen, Haas

9) Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin

10) Pierre Gasly, Alpha Tauri

Watch the Sao Paulo Grand Prix live on Sky Sports with coverage from 4.30pm and lights out at 6pm on Sunday

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