Verstappen, Russell, Sprint discussed on The Autosport Podcast

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The most memorable Saturday races yet, as George Russell defeated Max Verstappen to secure top spot on the grid for the Brazilian Grand Prix, a split entire strategy saw Russell start on softs and Verstappen on the mediums and once both had picked off Friday hero and pole man Kevin Magnussen, a cat and mouse fight ensued at the front of the field. It took three bites of the cherry as Verstappen defended Hardin's term for the Russell got the move done with ten laps to go before sprinting if your pardon the pun into the distance and secure the Saturday win for Mercedes. Verstappen fell back to fourth after losing a chunk of his front wing in contact with Carlos Sainz, the Ferrari man grabbing second ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Science's engine change penalty drops him back to 7th on the grid, meaning it is provisionally an all Mercedes front row, although Hamilton is among 6 drivers going to the stewards this evening for various sprint race incidents. Joining me to discuss today's F one sprint is auto sport F one editor Matt Q now Matt first things first was that the best F one sprint yet. I think so, so listeners I'll give you a secret that we're not quite as spontaneous as this podcast would suggest we Luke sent me the script a few minutes ago for this. So I've been roundly I've just recapped refreshed for myself that the previous sprint races and what are the contenders before I think Silverstone probably for max versus Lewis, but that was only really one lap one corner. It was more about what happened the following day. And the only other thing of note, I think, at Silverstone, was Alonso's recovery. So that was decent. I suppose Monza you'd say how it set up the McLaren's for the win the next day and then Brazil was all about Hamilton's comeback drive, which in itself was fantastic, but in terms of the question over, what could Magnussen do? How soon Verstappen overtake. And then and then the Mercedes coming through, and the clashes between teammates and that's what you want from a sprint race. If I can make it all about myself, it's not an easy one to write because it's so frenetic and the laps ticked by a so quickly at such a short circuit, but that was mega if that's if that's what a sprint race is all about, then brilliant. But something I would complain about is can't all be perfect. So I was delighted that the rules were changed for this year because Kevin Magnussen is now recognized as officially having won a Formula One pole position. He is formula ones a 106 pollster, I think. What do we refer to Russell as now? Because he's not a Formula One race winner, even though he's won a Formula One race, is he? So I could still, I could still be yoked about that, but that's only if you press me Luke. You can be explored that and I did see I think the BBC ran their flash that came up on the app said George Russell wins first Formula One race and it's like technically yes, but also no. So it's an interesting one, isn't it? I think it's something that I think the stat gurus will be definitely digging into at some point. What do we call draw Russell? Do you know that I guess he did? He did win the race. You know that will be causing some consternation in a pub quiz ten years from now. Oh, there will be a way to draw Russell's score his first F one race win. Would this be counted or not? I will be the man up at the counter saying, now you gotta count interlagos 2022, but anyway, it's not about our future pub quiz success. It's, of course, about George Russell, a really brilliant display from him and Mercedes today. I think that the scene came into this weekend, maybe not expecting to be as competitive as it was in Mexico. I think it thought that it might be a little bit of a step back, but the car really seems come alive in the sprint race. We saw that with Lewis Hamilton as well, fighting his way up to third place. But I think the real key point was the fight between Russell and Verstappen. We know that split entire strategy was key and we'll get onto that. But Matt, what did you make of Russell's racecraft going wheel to wheel with Verstappen? We know how trick it can be at times. We saw at that very corner last year when it was Verstappen and Hamilton going wheel to wheel fighting for the title. Just what can happen. But it really seemed like Verstappen was defending so, so well into that corner, and it took Russell three bites of the cherry, but he finally got the move done. Exactly, it's sort of put me in mind of those Bahrain Saudi Arabia contests would look like where Verstappen very much seemed to be learning what to do. That's not to imply that he was green going into it, but you know, he worked out right if Russia's going to place his car there. And get good drive, then I've left myself vulnerable. So next up, I need to position my car a wider angle to get a better line back line to defend and carry more speed out of that. So I thought that was really shrewd. Even though he was battling with a silver car and it wasn't Hamilton, I certainly felt that when Hamilton came along and they were battling there and I was sort of more clenched, I suppose for that battle than I was for Russell, but this is really hard proper stuff going to town. And to throw it back to your opening question, was this the best sprint race? The Hamilton Verstappen battle at Silverstone was so short lived. This was three laps and but stretched over four laps we even had one lap off if you like. It was a nice break. And also, that's just talking about the main climaxes page. We could also discuss the opening couple of laps where Russell really sort of made Verstappen sweat and it looked like once Verstappen got his medium tyres up to temperature. That was sort of the battle for second, but effectively the wind even though Kevin Magnussen was still there or there about. So it looked like that one was done. But the fact it sort of then had this crescendo. It was brilliant and I thought both drivers, particularly as we've got from lower down the grid some cases of where it didn't go well, they executed their will to wheel battle perfect. That is distilled F one and the highlights were always exactly what you want

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