George Russell
Russell spent three years at Williams before joining Mercedes for 2022

After George Russell crossed the line to win his first grand prix in Brazil on Sunday, the tears started to flow.

The Mercedes driver said that in those moments his memories came flooding back.

There was a child in Norfolk. Traveling up and down the UK in a camper van The junior categories are up through the middle. He said his family, Mercedes, and more supported him.

He had dreamed of achieving the dream of every young man who starts out in car racing.

Russell said that he was impressed by how quickly he began to cry. By the time I got to Turn Two, I was so emotional.

It has been an emotional roller coaster for everyone.

  • Russell beats Hamilton to win first grand prix
  • Full race results

There was a second thought as well. Russell looked at the reigning Formula 1 world champion in a picture taken 13 years ago. There was a man on the podium at Interlagos.

Russell said it was "unbelievable how quickly time flies" and that it made him realize he had to make the most of every moment. 13 years later, we are on this journey with each other.

We've been on this journey with each other. We need to work together to get Mercedes back to their rightful place.

We're very happy that we have a good relationship. We're here to succeed. We're here to win. It shows all the hard work that everyone has been putting in.

Sao Paulo GP sprint race
The presence of Ayrton Senna will always be strong in Sao Paulo

'This is really huge'

It was a landmark moment in Formula 1 when Russell won at Interlagos.

It was the young driver's maiden grand prix win, one taken in controlled style with a drive from a man who has long looked a world champion in the making, and has more than proved that status this year.

It wasMercedes' first win of a long, hard season, which they started with a car a second and more off the pace, and had a major aerodynamic instability that took them more than three months to fix.

It was the first time this year that Red Bull had lost a race. Since winning his second world title three races ago, Max Verstappen has been defeated in straight fights.

Hamilton said it was really huge.

'The pressure was immense'

Russell has been waiting for this moment. Two years ago, he stood on the top step of an F1 podium, only to be stopped by two different problems, one of which was a pit mix-up by Mercedes.

After Mercedes put him to learn the ropes, he returned to Williams. He finally got his chance in a Mercedes at the start of this year, but it was too late, according to Mercedes F1 team boss Wolff.

Given Mercedes' form in recent years, Russell was expecting to fight for victories and the world title, only to find the team had produced their worst car for a decade, and that he and Hamilton were going to have a hard time fixing it.

Mercedes have been moving in the right direction. They fought for victory in Austin and Mexico after a major upgrade at the United States Grand Prix.

It might have been Hamilton who would deliver Mercedes' win, but Russell was on fire. He started the sprint race third and fought his way past Verstappen and Magnussen to win.

Even though he was next to Hamilton and Verstappen, he was still calm.

When Verstappen and Hamilton collided, Verstappen took total control and never let go, even when a second safety car put Hamilton on his tail for the final 10 laps.

When the safety car came out, Russell thought it was going to be very difficult.

Lewis put me under a lot of pressure. There was a time in the race when I looked at my mirrors and saw Lewis.

I need to look forward now, that's what I realized. I'm going to win this race by looking ahead and driving as fast as I can.

My engineer was on the radio and he gave me the gaps. The time was between 1.1 seconds and 1.3 seconds. I wanted a little bit more buffer. When I entered sector three on the last lap, I knew we had it.

Russell didn't know his car was leaking water. He was not told about it by the team.

Wolff said they were worried they would not make it. He would be allowed to drive without water. What was there to cool it?

Mercedes team
Mercedes took their first win since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

'The drinks are on me'

Wolff wasn't in Sao Paolo to see Russell achieve his goal. He also said that he had his own memories. Russell went to the Mercedes factory to try and get into their junior driver program.

Wolff thought about how he walked in as a 16-year-old when he presented his powerpoint.

He is the first person to win a race. George is a grand prix winner six years after Lewis graduated from the junior academy, but Lewis is still the most successful of the bunch.

Russell was asked how he was going to celebrate after the race. He talked about it with Carlos Sainz, who finished third on Sunday.

He said that they were on the same flight going to Abu Dhabi. The flight is 15 hours. Yes...

Sainz said that he had said that drinks were on him.

I believe they're free on the plane. Russell made a statement.

They're on me because of that.

It will be a bit of a ride.

Confusion, progress and a breakthrough

After his win, Russell reflected on how far Mercedes have come this year, after a season that started with a car that was not only miles off the pace, but also suffered from an aerodynamic phenomenon known as "porpoising".

Russell said that they were fighting at the beginning of the season. It was over a second behind the most dominant team.

It shows how much we've improved." We lost a lot of time trying to find a solution to the porpoising issues.

In the past eight races, we've seen a jump in performance. We are no longer focused on porpoising and we are now focused on bringing performance.

As Mercedes got to grips with the car, there were more flashes of pace.

It was an upgrade for the US Grand Prix that made the difference. Since that time, Mercedes have fought for victory at all three events, in Austin, Mexico and now in Brazil.

The collision between Hamilton and Verstappen took the Red Bull driver out of contention early in the race, which made it easier for Russell to win. The world champion said he was not fast enough.

Verstappen said that they had no speed. The same thing happened when I tried to push a little on the tires. I was making them feel bad. It never seemed like it was doing much for the performance.

The other teams came back to Mercedes in Brazil. The Red Bull team boss said they would have to look at what they missed.

Russell thinks they will be in front of Red Bull in Abu Dhabi.

Mercedes have made a huge step forward this season, and what it means for the future.

Hamilton said it was a great sign. We didn't know what the problem was or how to fix it. It was hard because we kept trying and trying and we still had problems.

This is big. We know where the north star is and where we have to work. I am happy for the team.

Russell said, "Who knows what we can achieve when the car is still performing... sub-optimally." We think we'll have a nicer car next year, which will give us more confidence to push it.

Verstappen Hamilton collision
Hamilton and Verstappen were involved in a controversial move during last year's Brazilian Grand Prix

Hamilton & Verstappen open old wounds

The collision between Hamilton and Verstappen was reminiscent of some of the incidents they had last year.

At the first safety car restart, Verstappen went for the outside at Turn One but lost half a car's length through the corner as he tried to get back into the race. He entered at Turn Two. Verstappen refused to back down despite Hamilton giving him some room.

Verstappen said Hamilton didn't give him enough room. A five-second penalty was given to the Dutch.

The stewards said that Verstappen made contact with Hamilton because he didn't complete the pass in Turn One and his excess speed compromised his entry into Turn Two.

While the stewards acknowledge that Hamilton could have given a little more room at the apex of Turn Two, they decided that Verstappen was mostly at fault.

Verstappen didn't apologize.

The Red Bull driver said that he felt as soon as he was next to him that he had no intention of leaving him space. If you don't leave me space, we are going to collide.

We were too slow at the end. He couldn't win the race because of it. We can finally race after last year.

I would do it again if you asked me, even though I was surprised when I got the penalty.

Hamilton asked what he could say. You're aware of how it is with Max.

He said he had no concerns about racing with Verstappen in the future. You become a target when you have the numbers on your chest. It's okay. I have dealt with it before.

Verstappen against Russell and Hamilton for an entire season will be something to watch if Mercedes can deliver.