Hamilton excluded from Sao Paulo classification

Lewis Hamilton is 19 points behind Max Verstappen in the drivers’ championship with four races remaining

Lewis Hamilton has been disqualified from qualifying at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix for a technical infraction in his Mercedes car.

The rear wing of his Mercedes was found to be in violation of the rules after he claimed pole position for Saturday’s ‘sprint’ event.

It means that Hamilton will start the ‘sprint’ from last place, with title rival Max Verstappen on pole.

In another verdict, Verstappen was fined € 50,000 for touching Hamilton’s car after qualifying.

That fine equals £ 42,700.

The decision to penalize Hamilton is a potentially major blow to his title hopes as the season heads toward its climax.

Hamilton is 19 points behind Verstappen in the world championship with four races and a maximum of 107 points available.

The Brit also has a five-place grid penalty for the main grand prix after Mercedes installed a new engine in his car. It was his fifth of the season, when the maximum allowed is three.

If Verstappen scores at least five points more than Hamilton this weekend, the Dutchman will be able to finish second behind the seven-time champion in the remaining three races and still win his first world title.

The ‘sprint’ – a short race about a third of the distance of a grand prix – sets the grid for Sunday’s main event and awards a small number of points to the top three.

There are three points for the sprint winner, two for the second-place driver, and one for third.

What was wrong with Hamilton’s car?

Hamilton’s car was referred to the stewards after setting a faster lap that was 0.438 seconds faster than Verstappen in Friday’s qualifying session.

The move came after Red Bull filed a complaint with the FIA ​​governing body about Hamilton’s rear wing.

Officials inspected the wing and found that it did not meet the rules about the maximum gap between its two elements when the DRS overtaking aid was deployed.

The DRS operates the upper skirt of the rear wing, lifting it up in specific parts of the lap to reduce drag and increase speed in a straight line.

The gap was measured to be greater in the outer sections of the wing than the maximum allowable distance of 85mm.

Mercedes argued that the design was intended to comply with the rules, and the stewards said they were “satisfied that the design meets the intent of the regulation” and that “there was no question … of any intention to exceed the dimension maximum either by action or design. “

The stewards said it was clear that the extra clearance was caused by additional play in the DRS trigger or pivots, “or some combination or other failure of the mechanism or improper assembly of the parts.”

The stewards accepted Mercedes’ argument that the problem was that “something [had] went wrong, “but ruled that Hamilton had to be disqualified because the pieces did not meet the rules.

Why was Verstappen punished?

Verstappen’s offense occurred as he walked over to look at Hamilton’s car after qualifying, when the two pulled into what is known as parc fermé, because Red Bull had questions about Mercedes’ rear wing.

Stewards said it was clear “there was negligible force when Verstappen touched the wing.”

And they added that Verstappen’s actions were “unrelated” to the problem with Hamilton’s wing.

The stewards accepted that “it had become a habit of the drivers to touch the cars after qualifying and the races”, a point that Verstappen made to them.

But they added: “This general trend has been seen as mostly harmless and therefore not uniformly policed.

“However, it is a violation of the closed park regulation and has a significant potential to cause harm.”

The commissioners added that other similar crimes “may incur different penalties.”


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