By James Galloway
Watch Max Verstappen lose two places on the opening round of the sprint at the GP of Sao Paulo
Valtteri Bottas won the F1 sprint for Mercedes denies Max Verstappen the full points pull and pole position for Sunday’s Sao Paulo GP as Lewis Hamilton attacked sensationally back by last to the fifth place.
Verstappen elevated his championship lead over Hamilton to 21 points by finishing second by first on the grid but the big winner of the mini race was perhaps his British rival, who took 15 auto’s in in the space of 24 laps as part of an exciting comeback drive through the field after his previous disqualification from the qualifying results.
By a further penalty for an engine change this weekend, Hamilton will drop back five places to 10th for tomorrow main starting grid – but is firm back in the fight for the leading positions on proof of Saturday.
“What a drive by Lewis Hamilton! What is he going to do? over 71 laps tomorrow?” asked a bewildered Martin Brundle on Skysport F1.
“He goes start 10 places higher than where he started here. He can win it still.”
Lewis Hamilton moves in the 10th place after starting the back after overtaking Daniel Riccardo in the Sprint of Sao Paulo
Starting on the more durable medium tyres, Verstappen lost the lead at the start to a soft-shod Bottas – then dropped to third place behind Ferraris fast- Carlos Sainz starting after running wide under braking on the back Straight ahead.
Verstappen soon took the Ferrari in to move back go inside second but couldn’t roll in bottas over the remaining laps to put a lot of pressure on the Mercedes.
Red Bull lost another position on the grid with Sergio Perez, who couldn’t pass the impressive Sainz again and so done outside the points on offer for the sprint in fourth.
It means Mercedes is actually extending their slim Constructors Championship advantage over Red Bull to two points.
die from Hamilton final catching up might have been the best of fate as it swept down the inside of Lando Norris of McLaren in turn one on the final tour for fifth place.
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