Interlagos was the track at which Lewis Hamilton first tasted championship glory, and it is now also the site of young George Russell’s first ever race win.
The Brit also won the sprint race on Saturday, making it a near perfect weekend for the Mercedes driver.
Russell stormed to victory despite two safety car restarts, being a level above every other driver on track for the entire race, but this was almost not to be.
The 24-year-old reportedly had a water leak in his car, which is often terminal, as seen by Carlos Sainz who experienced a similar issue back in Austin.
Mercedes have now confirmed that they identified the issue with the car midway through the race but decided not to inform Russell, instead allowing him to focus on his racing while the team dealt with the problem the best they could.
“It wasn’t clear if we could actually make it to the end,” said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.
“We talked about it on the intercom and we all agreed we’re going to let him driver to the end even without water and just try to finish the race.”
Having a win for Mercedes snatched away because of a technical issue is an all too familiar scenario to Russell, who saw an almost certain win taken away from him at the Sakhir Grand Prix in 2020 as he stood in for Lewis Hamilton, as a result of a botched pit stop and a puncture.
Team communications director for the Silver Arrows, Bradley Lord, was asked by Wolff the odds of Russell being able to finish the race, to which he was told the chances were slim.
“About half distance, we knew about it,” said Lord after the race.
“George wasn’t informed. So he wasn’t aware.
“We were concerned at one point that we would be four or five laps from the finish and not making it, but then it did, by the skin of its teeth.”
The issue with Russell’s car makes his feat of holding off seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton on the closing stint of the race even more impressive, as Mercedes achieved their first one-two finish since Imola in 2020, with Russell coming home to take his first ever win with his teammate just behind.