‘Naughty’ star penalized in chaotic F1 sprint

A young F1 star has been lambasted by commentators after pushing his teammate off the road in a spirited clash during the sprint race for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel got a run on Aston Martin teammate Lance Stroll out of the Senna esses, and went to pull alongside when the Canadian veered to the left.

With his front wing already alongside, Vettel was forced to take to the grass to avoid a massive crash.

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Commentator Martin Brundle was less than impressed.

“That was naughty driving there from Lance Stroll. That was too much. Way too much,” he said.

But Vettel was far calmer on the radio.

“OK,” was all the German said on the matter. Stewards, however, gave Stroll a 10-second penalty.

Vettel finished ninth, Stroll will start from 17th place.

Meanwhile, Mercedes are set to lock out the front row of Monday morning’s (AEDT) Grand Prix after storming drives from George Russell and Lewis Hamilton.

Russell won the 24-lap sprint from the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz and teammate Lewis Hamilton, who will be elevated to second when the Spaniard takes a grid penalty for a new combustion engine in the Grand Prix.

But Hamilton faces a nervous wait before confirmation of his front-row start will come.

The seven-time world champion is under investigation by stewards for a start procedure breach, which could see him penalised.

Starting third, Russell scrapped with the medium-shod Max Verstappen in the opening laps before the world champion got past the pole sitting Haas of Kevin Magnussen into the first corner at the start of lap three.

Russell was next to pass the Dane, before setting his sights on the Dutchman in the Red Bull up the road.

The pair scrapped on and off for the next dozen or so laps, before the young Mercedes gun finally got the job done on lap 15.

Shortly after, Verstappen came under attack by the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz, the pair making contact as the Spaniard got past at turn one.

Bits of Verstappen’s front wing flew off the car as he made his way down to turn four, before he was shortly after passed by Lewis Hamilton, who was fighting back having started eighth.

“It’s crazy to think we are both starting on the front row – Lewis did a great job fighting through from eighth.

“I’m sure Max will be flying tomorrow coming through the pack, but we’re in a position tomorrow we can maybe split the strategy and go for the win,” Russell said after the race.

“It was incredible. We weren’t expecting to have that much pace, but it goes to show all the hard work we are putting in and the progress we as a team have made.

“These last three races since Austin, the car has been feeling really great and it is difficult to know how Max would have got on if he had been on the soft tyres.

“Nevertheless, standing here is a great feeling.”

Verstappen came home fourth, ahead of teammate Sergio Perez, who’s pleas to swap positions with his teammate to assist him in his fight for second in the drivers’ championship with Charles Leclerc fell on deaf ears.

Daniel Ricciardo was 11th.

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