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George Russell secures first F1 victory in Mercedes one-two in Brazil

George Russell turned in a dominant drive to claim his first ever Formula One victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Russell was unchallenged out in front until a late safety car put his win in jeopardy, but the Brit managed the restart perfectly and never let teammate Lewis Hamilton get close enough to attack.

Hamilton ended second but will be left wondering what might have been were it not for an early collision with 2021 title rival Max Verstappen, which dropped both drivers down the order and left them with car damage.

Both drivers had looked the most likely to challenge Russell out in front but their collision should take nothing away from the nature of his maiden victory.

Russell’s win is Mercedes’ first of the season and will give the team renewed hope of moving forward to challenge Red Bull for the title in 2023.

Crossing the line, a jubilant Russell said: “Wooo! Come on team! One-two, unbelievable. This is just the beginning. So proud of all of you.”

He added: “I knew we could do this. I knew it. I need some tissues, I’m crying, boys and girls.”

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz rounded out the podium ahead of teammate Charles Leclerc, with Alpine’s Fernando Alonso claiming a superb fifth position for Alpine with a brilliant charge through the field from 18th.

Alonso had made headlines on Saturday with some comments about his collision with teammate Esteban Ocon in the sprint race, but capitalized on the situation late on to remind fans why he is still regarded as one of F1’s best drivers.

Alonso finished ahead of Max Verstappen, who refused a Red Bull team order to let teammate Sergio Perez last on the final lap to mitigate some of the points lost to Leclerc in the battle for second in the championship.

At the finish, Verstappen’s race engineer asked him: “Max, what happened?”

Verstappen replied over radio “I told you already last time. Don’t ask that again to me — are we clear about that? I gave my reasons and I stand by it”.

Leclerc had also been unhappy with his team when they did not ask Sainz to move over to give the Monaco native extra points over Perez.

After being told, Leclerc said: “Good joke”.

Leclerc had fought back from being spun into the barriers earlier on by Lando Norris.

Esteban Ocon finished eighth ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Lance Stroll, who took the final two points paying positions.

There were two Safety Cars in the race. The first was prompted after lap one when a clumsy Daniel Ricciardo move took him and Kevin Magnussen out of the race.

It was a bittersweet finish to the weekend for Magnussen after taking a stunning pole position in changing conditions on Friday evening.

Norris would stop on track later in the race at the same point. Initially his car needed a virtual safety car to be moved but that turned into a full safety car, which threatened to turn the race on its head.

But Russell never looked like buckling under pressure and became F1’s newest race winner.

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