George Russell was king for a day Sunday as he picked up his first Formula One victory.
Russell crossed the finish line in Sao Paolo ahead of Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to complete an emotional day. He also managed to snap Max Verstappen’s three-race winning streak that dated back to Oct. 9. Verstappen has already wrapped up the drivers’ championship this season.
As he completed the final lap of the race, Russell admitted he was in tears.
“I need some tissues,” Russell said from inside his crash helmet. “I am crying, boys and girls.”
Carlos Sainz finished in third place.
“It has been an emotional roller coaster … Lewis put me under so much pressure,” Russell said. “This is just the beginning.”
Hamilton fought tooth and nail to get back to second place as he made contact with Verstappen on Lap 8. Verstappen was given a five-second penalty and finished in sixth place.
“I was not upset by the penalty, but if you ask me would I do it again? Absolutely,” Verstappen said. “I went round the outside in turn one, and I just felt it as soon as I was going next to him that he had no intention to leave me space, and I was like, ‘OK if you are not going to leave me space then we will just collide.’”
Verstappen also had an incident with Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez, who is locked in a battle for second place in the championship standings. He was in sixth when Verstappen overtook him. Team radio showed Verstappen was ordered to allow Perez to finish ahead of him to score more points, but the champion disagreed.
“I told you already. You guys don’t ask that again to me. Are you clear about that? I gave you my reasons and I stand by it,” Verstappen said when he was asked by team bosses why he did not allow Perez to overtake.
Perez responded on the radio, “It shows who he really is.”
The two appeared to let bygones be bygones.
“If there’s a chance to help him in Abu Dhabi, then I will be there, and I will of course support him,” Verstappen said in a statement through Red Bull.
Perez appeared to accept the apology.
“It is something we have discussed internally, we will move on and keep working together as a team.”
The focus will now turn to the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi. Perez is tied with Charles Leclerc for second place in the standings.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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