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Brazil GP Preview

The penultimate race of the year takes place at the Interlagos Circuit in Brazil on Sunday evening as George Russell begins the race on pole thanks to his victory in Saturday's sprint qualifying.

WhatSao Paulo Grand Prix
WhenSunday 13th November, 18:00
WhereInterlagos Circuit
How to watchSky Sports F1
Odds (race winner)Max Verstappen 5/4, Lewis Hamilton 7/4, George Russell 11/4, Sergio Perez 16/1, Charles Leclerc 28/1 

The Mercedes man began the race third on the grid behind Max Verstappen and shock pole-sitter Kevin Magnussen, with the duo quickly dispensing with the Haas driver on lap two.

Verstappen led and many would be forgiven for thinking he would gallop away into the distance as has been the case for much of the season.

However, Russell, who has shown great potential this season, overtook Verstappen just after half of the race distance after some closely-fought racing.

It means Russell will hope to win his first full-distance with Verstappen fourth after slipping behind Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Carlos Sainz.

Russell lives up to star potential

Russell is currently on course to finish above his more illustrious colleague Hamilton in the title placings and it is no surprise to see him be competitive near the front, despite the car not showing the pace of previous years.

There was much excitement when it was announced Russell would complete an all-British driver line-up at the Silver Arrows and now he has a race win under his belt - albeit in the shorter sprint format.

The big challenge for him now will be to replicate that form over the full race distance, with Mercedes yet to win a race so far this year.

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The sprint format is a completely different equation and now Mercedes will need to show the race craft and strategic nous, as well as raw pace, to stop the charge of Verstappen from fourth.

However, there have been many occasions this season when Russell has shown his talent and he will back himself to finish high up the field.

Can Hamilton break his duck?

Hamilton now only has two more chances to preserve a record that has been with him ever since the start of his F1 career - winning at least one race in every season.

The target following last year's final lap heartbreak was to go forth and win an eighth title, to seal his place in the sport's history as the most decorated driver.

Yet the team struggled to develop a competitive car owing to the new regulations and, for the first part of the season, they were finding themselves in the midfield pack.

Improvements have definitely been made though and Hamilton has finished on the podium in seven of the last 12 races.

With Mercedes showing good pace on Saturday, Hamilton's target will be to try and win.

Verstappen looking for win number 15

Of course, even when starting fourth on the grid, it is difficult to look beyond Verstappen, who has shown time and time again this season that starting on pole is not a prerequisite to winning a race.

The Dutchman has only started on pole six times yet has managed to come away with 14 wins.

The sheer straight-line speed of the Red Bull car and its usage of DRS has been crucial, along with the clever strategies played out by Christian Horner and co on the pit wall.

Verstappen has won at Interlagos once before - in 2019 - and will back himself to win again with the track offering a number of overtaking opportunities.

Weather to have an effect?

Interlagos is one of those circuits where the weather can often be unpredictable and it has led to some stunning races over the years, notably the monsoon-like 2003 running won by Jordan's Giancarlo Fisichella, and in 2008 when Hamilton claimed his first title on the final corner.

Magnussen's pole for the sprint race was by virtue of changeable conditions during qualifying and there is another high chance of precipitation on Sunday.

The weather radar that teams use during races will be very important and the decision-makers will have to have their wits about them with the use of wet tyres seemingly a likely outcome.

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