São Paulo (AP) — The Mercedes team had a memorable day at the Brazilian Grand Prix on Saturday.
Alpine days were forgotten instead.RELATED
Mercedes driver George Russell will start this Sunday in first place after winning the sprint race at Interlagos. He will join team-mate Lewis Hamilton on the front row.
In contrast, Alpine riders Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon suffered major crashes on track.
“It’s crazy to think they’re both going to start on the front row,” Russell said. “We are in the luxury position to be able to split our strategy and go for the win.”
Seven-time F1 champion Hamilton, who is making his first appearance as an honorary citizen of Brazil, was also thrilled with the 1-2 result.
“It’s an amazing result. We should be able to work as a team from there and hopefully we can pull away from our rivals,” commented the Briton.
Max Verstappen started third. He and his Red Bull team have already earned his F1 championship title.
Another Red Bull driver, Mexican Sergio Perez, will start fourth.
“Czech” Perez, who finished second in the championship, tweeted that he was “lacking rhythm in the fight.” “Hopefully I can recover tomorrow and fight for a good position. Let’s all go.”
Alonso wanted to pass Ocon on the first lap. It didn’t go well and the Spaniard ended the day on penalties, causing a notorious upset.
“We lost the front wing. Thank you friends of ours,” Alonso said sarcastically on team radio. “.
After that, the Spaniard gave more feedback to the French.
“Last year we saw this many times. This year we almost hit a wall in Saudi Arabia and Hungary. Now it happened here,” lamented two-time F1 reigning Alonso. “I’m already laughing at this.”
Alonso, 41, can’t wait to end his campaign and cut ties with Alpine.
Alonso, who will be driving for Aston Martin next year, said:
Ocon, who led the afternoon free practice, started from 18th position. Both pilots are under investigation by the Commissioner.
“We’re going to be 15 and 18, so there’s going to be a lot of fun,” Alonso said.
Ocon limited himself to saying, “This wasn’t how I wanted it to end,” but gave his own version of the conflict.
“We need to work together. Alonso is from abroad and I have been in touch with him,” explained Frenchman.
Of Alonso’s comments, he said: “That’s his opinion, not mine.”
Opinions of the track authorities were also different. They thought Alonso was the culprit and gave him a five-second penalty, demoting him to 18th place.
On top of that, Ocon’s car then caught fire.
“All the bodywork is pretty damaged. We don’t know what the outcome will be,” he said.
Sebastian Vettel, who will retire at the end of the season, has been more restrained in his reaction after Aston Martin teammate Lance Stroll aggressively shut him down.
“Okay,” the German driver said on the team radio. Minutes later, race organizers gave Stroll a 10-second penalty for dangerous maneuvers. Vettel started ninth and Stroll 17th.
“I think we both could have done better in the end today,” Vettel told Sky Sports.
Hamilton finished third, but took advantage of the penalty that would have dropped him five places to Ferrari’s second-placed Carlos Sainz. Spanish driver Sainz was penalized for adding a new internal combustion engine on the sixth weekend of the season.
Haas driver Kevin Magnussen, who started from pole position on Saturday after leading Friday’s qualifying session, finished eighth.
The Brazilian Grand Prix is the penultimate race of the season, ahead of Abu Dhabi on November 20th.