Russell to defy Mercedes team

Mercedes will start the 2022 Brazilian GP with both cars on the front  row for the first time this season. Lewis Hamilton benefits from a grid drop for Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz starting P2 which is his season best this year. Max Verstappen is looking for a record 15th win of the year starting P3 but only three drivers’ have won in Interlagos from this start position.

George Russell confirms the Brackley based team will learn from their recent outing in Mexico where the team failed to use their drivers strategically in an attempt to win the race.

“I think, as we saw in Mexico, that we both did the same strategy and ultimately it affected us both. Sitting here right now, we probably don’t know what the right strategy is going to be.



Mercedes to run alternative strategies

“But I think between the two of us, we will definitely be strategic to try and get that win for the team.”

Max Verstappen tried an alternative strategy in the Sprint in an attempt to gain an advantage towards the end of the race by fitting the more durable medium compound Pirelli. The double world champion was easily caught and overtaken by Russell, Sainz and Hamilton all of whom fitted the softest rubber in the Pirelli range.

Yet the temperatures are expected to be much warmer on Sunday which should see the medium tyre perform in its optimum window. Verstappen has two sets of new soft tyres and is likely to run a two stop race charging for the lead towards the end.

Interesting George Russell is prepared to defy any attempt by the Mercedes team to manage which of their drivers has track position



No team orders

“There definitely won’t be any team orders,” Russell told media after Saturday’s Sprint.

“So we’ll race each other fairly, for sure, and I’m sure we’ll probably be splitting the strategies tomorrow to try and cover all options. 

“Hopefully one of us comes away happy tomorrow, but I think we both recognise, based on recent experience, we’re probably going to have to go two separate ways.”

The Interlagos circuit has been a Mercedes stronghold since the start of the F1 hybrid era. The silver arrows cars have won all but two races here since 2014.



Vettel best start of the season

One of the two non-Mercedes wins came in 2017 when Sebastian Vettel held off the much quicker Mercedes cars and today the German driver starts from P9 a season joint best in his final year.

Since the pandemic the name of the race at Interlagos has changed. It was formally called the Brazilian GP but having secured contract with F1 until 2025 the local authorities believed they could market their city better globally by calling the race the Sau Paulo GP.

At the time the Mayor of São Paulo, Bruno Covas, said: “It is a great joy to be able to announce that Interlagos will continue to host one of the of the most important events in world motorsports. We made a tremendous effort to keep the race in our city.”

READ MORE: Pressure grows for Ferrari to sack Binotto

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