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Hamilton disqualified from Sao Paulo Qualifying Session, Verstappen receives fine.

Lewis Hamilton will now start the Sao Paulo GP from the back of the grid after being disqualified from qualifying for a DRS infringement

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Mercedes Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton has been disqualified from the qualifying session for the 2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix, the FIA has just announced.

The British driver stormed to a comfortable pole position and was set to start the third and final Sprint Race of the 2021 season at the head of the grid. However, in what could prove to be a pivotal blow to his title hopes, the FIA has deemed that his rear wing has violated the DRS regulations, meaning Hamilton will now have to start from the back of the grid.

“Reason The Technical Delegate reported that Car 44 failed the test designed to check the requirements of the last paragraph of Art. 3.6.3 of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 Technical Regulations,” read the official statement made by the FIA.

“The check is described in Technical Directive 011-19. In lay terms, there is a gap between the upper and lower parts of the rear wing. When the DRS is not activated this gap must be between 10mm and 15mm. The car passed this part of the test. When DRS is activated, which raises the upper element of the wing to a flatter position, the gap must be between 10mm and 85mm.

“The maximum gap is measured, in accordance with TD/011-19, by pushing an 85mm gauge against the gap with a maximum load of 10N (ten newtons.) If the gauge goes through then the car has failed the test. In this case, the gauge would not pass through at the inner section of the wing, but did at the outer section of the wing.

“This test was repeated four times with two different gauges, once being done in the presence of the Stewards and representatives of the Competitor.”

What this means

In simple terms, the FIA noticed a discrepancy in the gap of the rear wing when Hamilton’s DRS was activated. While the gap at the center of the wing was in accordance with the FIA mandate, i.e. between 10mm and 85mm, the width of the gap at the outer sections of the wing was wider than mandated (larger than 85mm) meaning it is considered a technical infringement and hence provides cause for Hamilton’s disqualification from yesterday’s qualifying session.

The ensuing ruling means that his title rival and current championship leader Max Verstappen will start from pole for the upcoming Sprint Race in Brazil.

Verstappen Penalty

The Dutchman too was reprimanded with the Red Bull driver being issued a €50,000 fine for inspecting the rear wing on Hamilton’s Mercedes at the conclusion of the session.


“The Stewards heard from the driver of car 33 (Max Verstappen) and team representative,” a separate statement from the FIA read.

“The stewards also examined a fan video taken from across the track, CCTV video footage taken from pit lane and in car footage from car 14, car 33, car 44 and car 77. In all, these videos gave a clear picture of what occurred in parc fermé following the qualifying session.

“Considering the fact that no direct harm was caused in this case, in the opinion of the Stewards, and that no earlier precedent of penalties for this exists – on the one hand but that it is a breach of the regulation and has potential for serious consequences on the other, the Stewards determine to take action in this case and order a fine of 50,000 euros.”

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