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Mercedes straight line pace thwarts Verstappen in São Paulo sprint

Mercedes straight line pace thwarts Verstappen in São Paulo sprint

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Mercedes straight line pace thwarts Verstappen in São Paulo sprint

Mercedes straight line pace thwarts Verstappen in São Paulo sprint

Max Verstappen conceded Mercedes' straight-line pace made it 'impossible' to launch an attack on Valtteri Bottas in the São Paulo Grand Prix sprint.

After starting from the front of the grid, Verstappen dropped immediately behind Mercedes' Bottas and despite running conflicting tyre strategies, the Dutchman was unable ever to mount a challenge to retake the lead.

With title rival Lewis Hamilton relegated to the rear of the grid due to a technical infringement, Verstappen extended his points lead to 21 despite the seven-time champion's stunning recovery to fifth.

“They are fast on the straight so you need a really good last corner to be able to pass but today it wasn’t possible," said Verstappen. "We will try again tomorrow.”

Red Bull started with both Verstappen and Sergio Perez on the medium compound tyre, a strategy matched by the hard-charging Hamilton but different to Bottas who fitted softs.

The Finn used this advantage to jump Verstappen on the short run to the first corner with Carlos Sainz also finding a way past.

“My start wasn’t the best," conceded Verstappen. "Of course, we were on the harder compound so that also didn’t help especially to put the energy in around here. It wasn’t the easiest.

“But nevertheless, I think the pace is quite good. It’s just around here once you close up you can’t really pass.”

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