Lewis Hamilton disqualified in Brazil as Mercedes star hit with severe penalty

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has been disqualified from Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying and will start the sprint race from the back of the grid after an FIA investigation into his rear wing. Hamilton was due to start from the front of the grid on Saturday, ahead of his main title rival Max Verstappen, before the FIA flagged an issue with the rear of his car. 

After being summoned to the stewards in a lengthy overnight process, the FIA released a document stating that Hamilton’s car “could not fulfill the requirement of a maximum 85mm measurement (adjustable positions of uppermost rear wing element)” meaning it failed an FIA check on the rear wing, which opens up when the DRS (drag reduction system) is activated.

Hamilton wasn’t the only driver under investigation on Friday as questions were raised after a video emerged of Verstappen looking at the rear of the Red Bull, and then seemingly checking his rival’s car too.

The 24-year-old was then summoned to the stewards over an alleged breach of the FIA International Sporting Code relating to parc ferme conditions, with the championship leader due to start alongside the seven-time world champion on Saturday.

The Dutchman was only hit with a fine however of around £42,000 pounds after touching Hamilton’s rear wing in Brazil, inheriting the front of the grid start.

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The document continued to say: “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.

“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 (newtons.) If the gauge goes through then the car has failed the test.”

But in Hamilton’s case: “The gauge would not pass through at the inner section of the wing, but did at the outer section of the wing.”

The stewards added the test was repeated four times during the investigation with two different gauges. 

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