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George Russell wins his first Formula One Grand Prix after victory in São Paulo





King's Lynn-born Formula One driver George Russell won his first Grand Prix after a dominant display in São Paulo on Sunday.

The 24-year-old - who hails from Tydd - became the 113th different winner of a Grand Prix after his maiden success.

It was a memorable moment for the Mercedes driver who finished ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton and he was full of praise for all those who had helped him throughout his career.

George Russell celebrates his success. Photo: LAT Images (60622679)
George Russell celebrates his success. Photo: LAT Images (60622679)

He said: "What an amazing feeling.

"A huge thank you to the whole team for making this possible. It's been an emotional rollercoaster this season, but this race, I felt in control.

"Lewis was super-fast and then, when I saw the safety car, I thought this is going to be a difficult end. He put me under so much pressure, but I'm so happy to come away with the victory.

"On the in-lap, all of these memories came flooding back, starting off with my mum and dad in go-karting, going through and all the support I've had from the rest of my family, my girlfriend, my trainer, my manager. I can't thank everyone enough."

The weekend had started with disappointment for Russell after he set a time sufficient for sixth in practice and crashed in qualifying.

In mixed conditions, Russell stayed in the top five throughout most of the first stage of qualifying but relied upon his final lap to ensure he progressed into the second part.

Russell struggled early on in second qualifying as he stayed eighth but a strong final run put him third and easily through to the final stage.

With rain once again falling in Interlagos, Russell went out for what would be his final run where he set a time good enough for third place.

However, on his return lap, Russell lost grip on the damp grass and went off into the gravel, breaking his headrest and beaching the car in the process.

This brought out a red flag and with the rain tumbling down during the stoppage it secured Russell third place on the grid for the sprint alongside his former Formula Two rival Lando Norris.

Russell started the sprint race well and battled with Red Bull's Max Verstappen on the opening lap to try and gain position but remained in third.

An overtake on Haas' Kevin Magnussen brought Russell up to second where the driver from Tydd was once again catching up to the double world champion.

After setting the fastest lap of the sprint, Russell closed up the gap to less than one second away from Verstappen bringing the Brit into range where he could use the Drag Reduction System (DRS).

Two laps of intensely close racing followed with Russell almost catching the Dutchman on multiple occasions before a yellow flag period neutralised the racing after another car suffered mechanical issues.

When racing resumed, Russell was still tantalisingly close to Verstappen and with the added boost of DRS on the run to turn four the Brit made the overtake which clinched the lead.

By the end of the 24 lap race, Russell had extended his lead to over four seconds which put him in first position on the grid for the Grand Prix along with his team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the first Mercedes front row in 2022.

An amazing getaway off the line from Russell meant he led the first lap even under a safety car period after which the Brit had a great restart to retain his lead.

Throughout the first stint, Russell kept a consistent lead of around three seconds to avert the threat from a tyre undercut and then pitted from the lead into second after a switch to the soft tyre.

Russell then retook the lead after his team-mate made his stop and the 24-year-old set about extending his advantage to such an extent that when he pitted for the final time he had a gap sufficient for him not to lose first position.

Another safety car period followed due to the recovery of Norris' stricken McLaren which Russell managed well to maintain his lead and fend off the threat from Hamilton in the closing laps.

While Russell fought to maintain his lead, he also set the fastest lap of the race securing the maximum points haul while he became the 20th British driver to win a Grand Prix.

The 2022 Formula One season continues this weekend for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on November 18-20.



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