Bottas Beats Verstappen as Hamilton STUNS Everyone After Misfortune: Sao Paulo F1 GP Sprint Race Report

Published 11/13/2021, 3:06 PM EST
Formula One F1 – Brazilian Grand Prix – Jose Carlos Pace Circuit, Sao Paulo, Brazil – November 13, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas leads into the first corner during sprint qualifying REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes


Valtteri Bottas clinched his first-ever F1 sprint qualifying victory to place his Mercedes W12 on pole for Sunday’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix. Behind Bottas arrived Max Verstappen, who will subsequently line up alongside Bottas for the main race.

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Meanwhile, the Dutchman’s title rival, Lewis Hamilton, produced an ecstatic drive to see the chequered flag in P5. However, with the impending 5-place grid penalty, the Briton will be starting the main race from P10.

The unfolding of F1 sprint at Sao Paulo GP

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Battle for the lead at the start

There was already a difference between Bottas and Verstappen; While the former opted to start the sprint on a set of soft tires, the latter chose the yellow-marked medium tires. Hence, it was almost mandatory for Bottas to leap ahead of the Dutchman before turn 1.

Formula One F1 – Brazilian Grand Prix – Jose Carlos Pace Circuit, Sao Paulo, Brazil – November 13, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen during sprint qualifying REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

And rightfully so, the Finn produced a brilliant getaway at lights-out to snatch the lead from Verstappen. What’s more, bigger heartbreak struck the Red Bull driver, who found himself losing yet another position to Sainz. However, by lap 4, Verstappen regained P2 from the Spaniard.

Lewis Hamilton fights back

The Briton, whose title hopes were hanging in balance amidst the qualifying disqualification, produced the much-needed start to the sprint at Interlagos.

Formula One F1 – Brazilian Grand Prix – Jose Carlos Pace Circuit, Sao Paulo, Brazil – November 13, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during sprint qualifying REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

Hamilton looked almost unstoppable, and why wouldn’t he, considering he had nothing to lose and almost everything to gain from the 24 laps. And boy did he use them to his utmost advantage. By lap 8, he was knocking on the doors of the top 10, after overtaking Alonso to claim P11.

It almost looked like he could find himself stuck in the train ahead. However, he managed to make a mockery of the others, as he blitzed past the grid to ultimately claim P5.

Battle for F1 pole re-ignites

Bottas, having snatched the lead from Verstappen at the start, pulled away quite rapidly and almost put himself out of threat from the rest of the grid. However, you really can’t count Verstappen out, can you?

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The Dutchman began his charge at Bottas, as his medium tires steadily returned to life while Bottas’ soft tires started to lose their performance.

Formula One F1 – Brazilian Grand Prix – Jose Carlos Pace Circuit, Sao Paulo, Brazil – November 13, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen ahead of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez at the start of sprint qualifying REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

Overall, an exhilarating 30-minute sprint comes to an end, and it is Bottas, who emerges at the top. But, there are more to come on Sunday amidst Hamilton’s enormous task of battling his way through the field and Mercedes’ tactical usage of Bottas to deny Verstappen the race victory.

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Hence, too many events to keep an eye on, and considering how the weekend has unfolded so far, there is no denying that we are in for a nail-biting end to the Sao Paulo GP.

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Rohit Kumar

1445 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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