Lando Norris was unable to turn Brazilian Grand Prix sprint pole into victory, with Max Verstappen taking that honour.
While Verstappen was out of reach after his Turn 1-pass on Norris, the action behind was thrilling, Norris needing to pull a move on George Russell to rescue his P2 finish, while Sergio Perez rounded out the top three, who were comfortably faster than the chasing pack.
Both Norris and Verstappen got away well, but with the inside line at Turn 1, Verstappen pushed his way past the McLaren and into the lead.
It was a superb opening lap for Mercedes, as Russell demoted Norris a further spot, while Lewis Hamilton was up to P4, Perez down to to P5.
Perez only needed until Lap 4 to combine the slipstream with DRS to re-pass Hamilton at turn 1, Hamilton’s retaliation attempt at Turn 4 putting Charles Leclerc on the scene, who Hamilton narrowly kept at bay.
The race pace was abandoning Russell too, as Norris re-claimed P2 on the following lap.
Now Perez was on the attack, sailing around the outside of Russell at Turn 1, but Russell used DRS to respond and take his podium spot back at Turn 4. A few laps later, Russell could not repeat the trick at P3 was Perez’s to keep.
With four laps remaining, Leclerc finally made his way past Hamilton, who was now seemingly struggling for grip in a major way.
No such overtaking dramas for Verstappen, who controlled proceedings to claim Brazilian GP sprint victory, Norris and Perez completing the top three.
Brazilian Grand Prix sprint finishing order
1 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing
2 Lando NORRIS McLaren +4.287
3 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing +13.617
4 George RUSSELL Mercedes +25.879
5 Charles LECLERC Ferrari +28.560
6 Yuki TSUNODA AlphaTauri +29.210
7 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes +34.726
8 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari +35.106
9 Daniel RICCIARDO AlphaTauri +35.303
10 Oscar PIASTRI McLaren +38.219
11 Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin +39.061
12 Lance STROLL Aston Martin +39.478
13 Pierre GASLY Alpine +40.621
14 Esteban OCON Alpine +42.848
15 Alexander ALBON Williams +43.394
16 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas F1 Team +56.507
17 Guanyu ZHOU Alfa Romeo +58.723
18 Nico HULKENBERG Haas F1 Team +60.330
19 Valtteri BOTTAS Alfa Romeo +60.749
20 Logan SARGEANT Williams +60.945