Russell revels in ‘crazy’ Sprint win as Hamilton says Mercedes ‘must’ take 1-2 at Sao Paulo Grand Prix | Formula 1®

After securing a one-two for the Sao Paulo Grand Prix on Sunday, George Russell said Mercedes had achieved a “crazy” result in the Sprint – while Lewis Hamilton said the team needed to convert that into a one-two in the race tomorrow.

Russell, who started the Sprint from third place, escaped on softs while Max Verstappen jumped from P2 onto the grid on medium tyres. Both drivers made it easier for pole sitter Kevin Magnussen and then fought a superb wheel-to-wheel battle, with Russell coming out on top and maintaining his lead after Verstappen suffered damage on contact with Carlos Sainz.

READ MORE: Russell beats Verstappen in Sprint thriller to secure P1 grid spot for Sao Paulo GP

“I mean, it’s crazy to think that [both Mercedes are] starting from the front row Lewis has done a great job coming from P8 so it’s going to be exciting,” Russell said as he looked ahead to Sunday. “I’m sure Max will be flying in the peloton tomorrow but we’re in a luxury position that we can perhaps divide the strategy and aim for victory.

“I think it’s really exciting, and I’m so proud that the whole team is continuing to deliver with the car. It’s going to be interesting tomorrow – obviously Max is the main man at the moment, and those medium tires didn’t seem not work,” he added.

2022 Sao Paulo Sprint GP: George Russell takes his first Sprint victory at Interlagos

Russell added that he viewed Verstappen as a shoo-in to lead the Sprint to the end, and revealed his satisfaction at having passed the defending champion.

“I think we were confident we could finish second, and we thought Max would probably have a pretty easy race, to be honest; we knew that if we weren’t in front of him at turn 1, it was going to be very difficult to stay ahead of him. I started pushing in the early laps and thought once he got temperature in his tires he would be out,” Russell said.

“As much as I wanted to win this race today, it’s only [eight extra points] and that obviously prepares you [on the grid] for tomorrow. So you have to be a little careful and I knew Max had nothing to lose so he was going to drive aggressively. Absolutely, it was nice to make the move at the end.

FACTS & STATS: Mercedes clinch first season-long lockout at Sao Paulo

2022 Sao Paulo GP sprint: The moment Russell overtakes Verstappen to set up the Sprint victory

Hamilton finished third in the Sprint but will be promoted to second on tomorrow’s grid as Carlos Sainz drops five places for taking on a new engine. The seven-time champion echoed his teammate after earning a No. 1 lockout for the team.

“Congratulations to George,” Hamilton said. “As George was saying, it’s such an incredible result for us as a team – we’ve all worked so hard for this throughout the year. Did we think we’d be at the front, starting on the front row of the Brazilian Grand Prix at the end of the year? Not at all. That’s what everyone has been working towards. I’m just incredibly proud of everyone and incredibly grateful to everyone…

WATCH: Magnussen leads Verstappen at start of Sao Paulo Sprint as Alpines come into contact

On whether Mercedes can maintain their starting positions and claim a one-two at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, Hamilton said: “Yeah, we have to do it! We will work together as a team tomorrow and it’s about the team, to get this result for the team, I think that would be incredibly special. And obviously we’re chasing the red guys [Ferrari, in the constructors’ standings] – it could be good.

“Getting a one-two anyway, I’m going to be happy, personally, just because of how hard everyone worked,” Hamilton added.

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