Max Verstappen was victorious in the sprint race in São Paulo, while Lewis Hamilton faced difficulties.
It was quite ironic that the weekend when Formula One was testing its sprint race idea, the format produced one of its most exciting events. Although Max Verstappen won once again, the rest of the race was fast-paced and intense, just as F1 intended when they introduced the shorter race format.
Max Verstappen claimed victory for Red Bull at Interlagos with a strong performance. He quickly took the lead from Lando Norris on the first lap, securing his position at the front of the pack. From there, he maintained control of the race, crossing the finish line ahead of Norris in second and his teammate Sergio Pérez in third at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace.
George Russell and Lewis Hamilton held the fourth and seventh positions for Mercedes respectively, while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc secured fifth place. As Verstappen increased his lead, the rest of the drivers behind him battled fiercely for position. Both Hamilton and Russell had impressive starts, overtaking Pérez and Russell even surpassing Norris to claim second place.
In the beginning of the race, the drivers were evenly matched on a track that allows for passing due to its short length. There were multiple battles happening throughout the grid, including between Pérez and Hamilton for fourth place, Norris and Russell fighting each other, and Pérez and Russell exchanging positions with the help of DRS. Eventually, Pérez was able to secure third place. Leclerc and Tsunoda also made impressive moves, finishing in fifth and sixth place respectively.
Unfortunately, Hamilton’s attempts were fruitless as he faced challenges with insufficient traction and stability in the last segment. As a result, he fell to seventh place and cautioned that he anticipates similar problems during the race.
Verstappen secured his seventh win in a sprint race, a format in which he has consistently excelled since it was implemented. However, he has voiced criticism towards this format on multiple occasions.
Other individuals also share this sentiment. The teams are dissatisfied with how it limits their ability to prepare their cars, and numerous races have been disappointing. As a result, there are talks within the sport about potentially making further changes for the upcoming season.
It is uncertain how things will unfold in the future, following the conclusion of the sixth and final sprint race of the season. F1 has implemented a new format for the sprint races this season, which are now standalone events that do not affect the Grand Prix but do award championship points. This season, Verstappen secured the title at the sprint race in Qatar. It seems that F1 will continue to make changes to this format.
In Brazil, Verstappen expressed his dissatisfaction with the F1 format despite his victory. He stated that he would prefer a traditional race weekend and is not interested in any changes.
The suggested revisions involve moving the qualifying round to Saturday afternoon, followed by the sprint race. The sprint race would become a separate competition that does not contribute to the world championship, but the winner would receive points and a significant cash prize. In this new format, reverse grids may also be implemented.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz finished in eighth place, earning points for the team.