Lewis Hamilton fight from 20th to come fifth in Sao Paulo GP sprint race


Valtteri Bottas beat championship leader Max Verstappen to victory in the Sao Paulo GP sprint, where Lewis Hamilton fought back from last position to fifth at the finish.

Verstappen did not put up a fight into Turn 1 as Bottas got a better start and beat him into the left-hander. The championship leader scored two points for finishing second, increasing his lead over Hamilton to 21 points ahead of tomorrow’s grand prix.

Hamilton had qualified ahead of Verstappen on Friday evening, only to be disqualified from the result of that session on Saturday afternoon after a drawn-out investigation into the legality of his car’s drag reduction system (DRS). That disqualification meant he started last, but the seven-time world champion showed remarkable pace to charge through the field, making up 15 positions in 24 laps.

Hamilton capped off his recovery drive with a clinical move on McLaren’s Lando Norris at Turn 1 on the final lap for fifth place.

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With Hamilton already set to serve a five-place penalty for Sunday following an engine change ahead of the week, he will drop to 10th on the grid for the grand prix.

However, given the pace he was able to show in the sprint, Hamilton will feel confident in his chances of mitigating some of the damage and rising through the order again.

Hamilton will also take comfort in his teammate Bottas starting from pole. The Finnish driver had a great getaway off the line and passed Verstappen on the inside at Turn 1.

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Verstappen did not put up a fight and actually fell further down the order at Turn 4 when he ran wide under pressure from Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz. Verstappen kicked up some dirt as he rejoined the circuit but avoided any major damage, and was soon past Sainz again on lap four.

Sainz held third position from Perez to claim the final point on offer, which could be significant in Ferrari’s championship fight with McLaren. Perez settled for fourth ahead of Hamilton.

Source: ESPN