Formula One Power Rankings: Sao Paulo Grand Prix

Formula One returned to Interlagos this weekend for one of the most entertaining race weekends of the 2022 Championship, with Mercedes and George Russell finally getting their day in the sun.

It was a weekend of firsts at the Sau Paulo Grand Prix with George Russell maximising points at the final sprint weekend of the 2022 Formula One Championship.

Haas and Kevin Magnussen were the kings of Friday taking the team's maiden pole position but it wasn't all smiles in Brazil with cracks emerging at multiple teams.

Last week's rankings are in brackets.

1. Max Verstappen - Red Bull Racing (1)

Not content with just being the 2022 World Champion, Max Verstappen has decided to enter his villain era in final weeks of the season in a big way. In a good position to potentially finish on the podium Verstappen ruined his own race clashing with Hamilton and breaking his front wing, forced to pit the two-time-World Champion then received a five second penalty which he was forced to serve in a second pit stop.

However, Verstappen's worst moment came late in the race following the team unleashing him to attack both Alonso and Leclerc but when he failed to overtake Alonso subsequently refused to follow team orders and trade places back with his teammate Perez.

With the World Championship sewn up Verstappen has faced a lot of questions about why he chose to spite his teammate and Red Bull who are looking to claim the first 1-2 in the Drivers' Championship in the team's history.

2. George Russell - Mercedes (5)

What a weekend from George Russell who achieved not only his first sprint race win but also his maiden race win at what has to be Mercedes' favourite track. Despite a few weeks with some less-than-ideal performances, Russell did not put a foot wrong on Sunday.

Away off the line better than anyone else on the grid Russell hit the lead and stayed there for most of the race staying cool under pressure. Russell's first win has been overshadowed by the drama at other teams coming out of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix but it's a win that is going to be on the 2022 highlights reel for years to come.

3. Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes (2)

At his new home race, Lewis Hamilton sent fans right back to 2021, clashing with Verstappen on corners, arguing about tyres on the team radio and genuinely fighting for a race win for one of the first times this season.

Maybe it's the front wing upgrade, or maybe Interlagos is just the dream track for the W13 but regardless Hamilton was on fire this weekend and not even the water leak from Russell's car was going to ruin his race. The seven-time World Champion seemed to finally shake some of the demons and while he wasn't able to get his first win of 2022 he had a hand in Mercedes' first 1-2 since Imola 2020.

4. Charles Leclerc - Ferrari (4)

Fighting for second in the championship plenty went wrong for Charles Leclerc in Brazil, starting in qualifying when the 24-year-old was the lone driver put on the intermediate compound tyre while the rest of the field was on the soft slick tyres.

However, on Saturday Leclerc made up four places to score a handy three points and allowed him to start fifth on the grid on Sunday. However, after Lando Norris punted Leclerc into the wall he plummeted down the grid and had to fight back from 17th and despite pitting three times worked his way back into fourth position.

5. Carlos Sainz - Ferrari (6)

Despite a grid penalty for exceeding power units and Ferrari not having the speed of Mercedes, Carlos Sainz did everything he could to maximise points in Brazil.

Finishing in second in the sprint Sainz was able to start seventh on the grid on Sunday and from there Sainz just needed to stay out of trouble and hope the team didn't make any mistakes, fighting with Perez before the second safety car but after the only driver that might have been able to overtake him was Leclerc but without team orders being enforced Sainz simply had to hold his teammate off.

6. Sergio Perez - Red Bull Racing (3)

While Red Bull didn't have the pace in Brazil, Sergio Perez couldn't win a trick put on the worst strategy of the top teams sitting on well-worn medium compound tyres following the second safety car, Perez seemed to move backwards when the field was racing again.

He wasn't helped when Red Bull called team orders and the 32-year-old swapped with his teammate only for Verstappen to refuse to switch back, and not because Perez was running four seconds behind him. It's the major talking point coming out of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix and while Red Bull might like to be tight-lipped about it, it's not the last we'll be hearing about the incident.

7. Fernando Alonso - Alpine (8)

Saturday wasn't Fernando Alonso's day but you wouldn't have known there was any drama on Sunday after the Spaniard went from 18th to fifth throughout 71 laps and even held off Verstappen in the final 10 laps on the way to his third top five finish of 2022.

Alonso only has one race left with Alpine and it could be an incredibly important one as the team attempts to claim the best of the rest for 2022.

8. Lando Norris - McLaren (7)

There could be some truth to the argument that Lando Norris shouldn't have been behind the wheel in Brazil after suffering a bout of food poisoning on Thursday but when Norris was feeling at his worst was when he put in his best performance for the weekend.

Looking relatively content in qualifying Norris managed to put himself in P4 for the sprint race and was set to be in the fight for a sprint podium. However, it wasn't to be with Norris moving backwards into seventh following the sprint and then come race day Norris looked at his most uncomfortable, struggling to control the car resulting in his punting Leclerc into the barrier following the safety car restart and having to retire the car late in the race due to a gearbox issue.

9. Esteban Ocon - Alpine (9)

Esteban Ocon may have finished in the points but the 2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix wouldn't hold a lot of fond memories for the Frenchman. After clashing with his teammate, Alonso in the sprint race shunted back to 17th for the start on Sunday the worst possible thing could have happened in Parc Fermé when his car caught on fire.

Luckily the team was able to prevent too much damage and make some repairs without being relegated to the pitlane but after a solid performance throughout the race on Sunday Ocon received team orders to let Alonso through, with Ocon attempting to argue with the team to let him focus on passing Vettel ahead before making way for Alonso.

Ultimately the 26-year-old finished in eighth picking up another four points and stretching Alpine's lead over McLaren to 19-points.

10. Sebastian Vettel - Aston Martin (10)

Considering he finished just outside the points in both the sprint and the race Sebastian Vettel put together two incredible drives in Brazil that were hampered by poor strategy.

Getting up into P3 at one point in the race, navigating around the chaos that consumed the early stages of the race. Beating Magnussen into turn one Vettel was in a great position when the safety car was brought out and following the restart it only took a handful of corners to be up into fifth, despite only completing a lap and a half under racing conditions.

11. Valtteri Bottas - Alfa Romeo (13)

Valtteri Bottas wore many hats at Interlagos this weekend, Alfa Romeo's number one driver, best moustache, former sprint winner and team coach, sitting behind Zhou Guanyu in the sprint and coaching the rookie through an early stint of the sprint while the pair hunted down Latifi.

On Sunday Bottas was focused on his own drive, looking for back-to-back points for the first time since Monaco and doing just that, creeping into the points and positioning himself between Ocon and Vettel for a long stint of the race taking away two points with his best finish in the back half of the season.

12. Zhou Guanyu - Alfa Romeo (15)

Despite not finishing in the points Zhou Guanyu once again put in a solid performance looking his best in the sprint on Saturday that saw Zhou climb from 17th to 13th.

The lone rookie for this season Zhou looks more comfortable in an F1 car than ever and his current consistent streak could help him get back into the points in the last race of the season.

13. Pierre Gasly - Alpha Tauri (12)

Pierre Gasly tried his hardest to pick up points in Brazil, penalty points that is, summoned to the stewards on Saturday for driving unnecessarily slowly and received a five-second penalty for speeding in the pitlane on Sunday. However, despite his best efforts to serve out his one-race ban at the end of the season, the stewards weren't interested in giving him what he wanted.

When it came to racing Gasly impressed in the Saturday sprint putting himself in a good position for race day with a 10th-place finish but was unable to profit off it on Sunday finishing in 14th behind Schumacher after the penalty was added to his final time.

14. Lance Stroll - Aston Martin (16)

Following his teammate-on-teammate violence in the sprint race, Lance Stroll looked ready to go on Sunday slowly working his way through the field before coming face-to-face with Vettel once again, this time passing him without any drama and scoring some much-needed points for Aston Martin.

15. Daniel Ricciardo - McLaren (11)

Ricciardo just can't seem to put two good race weekends together back to back and after the heroics in Mexico City, ultimately crashed out of the race on lap one after getting tangled with Kevin Magnussen.

Sunday wasn't the only day with issues for the Australian who missed out on Q2 yet again on Friday and had to make up positions in the sprint race to give him a prayer of getting back into the points on Sunday. As a result of the crash, for which Ricciardo was at fault, he was given a three-place

16. Yuki Tsunoda - Alpha Tauri (14)

It wouldn't be a race weekend without race control and the Alpha Tauri drivers having issues and this weekend it was Yuki Tsunoda that was the victim of race control's errors.

Already running at the back of the pack sandwiched between the Williams, Tsunoda wasn't given the go-ahead to unlap his car while Latifi and Albon were given the all-clear, ending the 22-year-old's race in a flash putting him over a minute behind Latifi at the end of the race.

17. Kevin Magnussen - Haas (18)

Haas and Kevin Magnussen were able to share a first-ever pole position at Interlagos after what has been a long journey between the Danish driver and the team.

Scoring points in all three sprint weekends this year Magnussen just needed a clean sprint to earn Haas a few extra points and while the car didn't have the pace of the other teams he managed to lock in the last point of the sprint to start in eighth on the grid on Sunday. Unfortunately, his race was cut short one lap in after a nudge from Ricciardo knocked them both out of the race but Haas and Magnussen's fans are just going to keep reliving that qualifying performance for the next week.

18. Mick Schumacher - Haas (19)

Part two of the Haas sandwich Mick Schumacher had a lot of work to do on Saturday to make up for the ordinary qualifying performance. Starting in 20th, Schumacher took advantage of the chaos around him in the Sprint to rocket eight places up the grid to start in 12th on Sunday.

While the second-year driver didn't put in a stunning performance on race day he managed to keep out of any of the drama and maximised the tyre strategy to retain position despite being surrounded by cars with better pace for a 13th-place finish.

19. Alex Albon - Williams (17)

After a solid qualifying performance luck just wasn't on Alex Albon's side in racing conditions at Interlagos. DNFing in the sprint race and starting at the back of the grid Albon managed to make up a couple of positions but with the tyre strategy not working he found himself getting lapped by the front of the pack before the safety car came out.

20. Nicholas Latifi - Williams (20)

Nicholas Latifi had one of his better weekends at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, only just missing out on Q2 the Canadian went backwards in the sprint on Saturday to start 18th on the grid on Sunday.

Briefly able to hold off Leclerc and Verstappen, Latifi was stuck at the back of the pack for most of the race but luck was on his side after Tsunoda wasn't able to unlap himself, keeping the Canadian from earning his third-last-place finish in a row.