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Verstappen issues Mercedes worry after sprint catastrophe

Verstappen issues Mercedes worry after sprint catastrophe

Verstappen issues Mercedes worry after sprint catastrophe

Verstappen issues Mercedes worry after sprint catastrophe

Max Verstappen fears his remarkable run is poised to come to an end in the São Paulo Grand Prix after being crushed by Mercedes in the sprint at Interlagos.

Red Bull caused a stir by starting Verstappen on the medium tyre for the 24-lap race, with only Williams' Nicholas Latifi joining him as the remaining 18 drivers were on the softs.

After making short work of polesitter Kevin Magnussen in his Haas on lap three, the two-time F1 champion then became engaged in a lengthy duel with Mercedes' George Russell.

Following a tremendous battle over a number of laps, Russell finally grabbed the lead on lap 12, going on to take the chequered flag in an F1 event for the first time in his career.

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz soon followed, albeit damaging the left front-wing endplate on the Red Bull as he did so, along with Russell's team-mate Lewis Hamilton, leaving Verstappen to trail home fourth.

The 25-year-old, however, feels the result would have been no different if he had started on the soft compound, leading to concerns for the main race on Sunday.

"I was degging way too high, no grip from the tyres, I was heating the tyres," explained Verstappen, who has won eight of the last nine races en route to setting a new F1 record of 14 victories in a season.

"The mediums didn't last at all. We had no pace. I don't know why it was like that.

"But even on the soft, we wouldn't have had the pace Mercedes had, so that's a little bit worrying for tomorrow.

"We will definitely analyse everything but normally there is not so much you can do to make it better."

Verstappen at least had no complaints about the contact with Sainz that then left him at the mercy of Hamilton.

"My front wing was a bit damaged," added Verstappen. "It was just a bit unfortunate. "But even with a complete front wing, I would have been fourth. It didn't really matter a lot.

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