It’s a rare sprint weekend on the 2022 Formula 1 calendar, and it’s a crowd-favorite track: Autodromo José Carlos Pace, better known as Interlagos. After Kevin Magnussen and the Haas team had a dream Friday spring qualifying session by clinching pole position, today’s sprint race featured excellent wheel-to-wheel racing between Mercedes, Red Bull, and Ferrari. But there are a few strategic twists and turns for some big players in tomorrow’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
Most notably, Red Bull found itself in an unfavorable position after a tire gamble with Max Verstappen. Starting on the medium tires instead of softs like most of the grid, Verstappen had early pace and took the lead but had serious tire degradation, finishing the sprint in fourth behind Lewis Hamilton. George Russell battled his Mercedes to the front after several laps of following Verstappen and held a steady lead to the end.
The Red Bull tire wear issue might define tomorrow’s Grand Prix. Ferrari had serious speed, and Mercedes had the pace to compete with them. As it stands, it looks like a shootout between the Scuderia and the Brackley team.
Farther down the grid, Magnussen admirably held his lead for a couple of laps before falling back to seventh place, a great starting position for Haas. The two Alpine drivers clashed once again, with Fernando Alonso getting on the radio to criticize his teammate Esteban Ocon. Ocon defended hard against Alonso, which led to contact in turn 4. Later in the lap, Alonso lost his front wing after another moment of contact with Ocon. Alonso received a penalty for the contact after the FIA deemed him at fault.
Today’s sprint race was an example of what a good sprint race should be. Drivers and teams took risks and raced each other properly. More of this in the future, please. Either way, tomorrow’s Grand Prix is set to be an interesting race.
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