Sao Paulo Grand Prix: Disqualified Hamilton 'Sprints' to 5th; Verstappen handed 50,000 Euro penalty
Despite the disastrous disqualification, Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff could not have asked for a better outcome at the end of the day -- a car on pole position and Hamilton on P10.
In a major blow for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team ahead of Sunday's 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix race, British racing driver Lewis Hamilton was found guilty of a technical infringement in the Drag Reduction System. Capping off an intriguing qualifying session, current 2021 championship leader, Max Verstappen was fined 50,000 Euros for touching the rear wing of Hamilton's car after the qualifying session.
The Mercedes team was fine by the F1 stewards after a rear wing infringement, which was found to be not in conformity with the regulations during the post-session checks. The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile or FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer noted that when the Drag Reduction System system was deployed, the uppermost rear wing element adjustable positions did not meet the requirements. As per regulation, the DRS gap in the rear wing should not be more than 85mm. Read the FIA order in the Tweet below.
The infringement meant that Hamilton, who qualified for pole in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix would start at the end of the grid at 20th spot for the Sprint session ahead of the main race on Sunday. In the 24-lap Sprint session, Hamilton and his car number 44 showed their brilliance as they made their way up the field with one overtake after another. Hamilton finished the Sprint in the fifth position. However, the reigning world champion still found himself going down to the 10th spot after taking another five-place grid penalty for taking a new Mercedes engine for the Sao Paulo race.
Verstappen, meanwhile, was caught breaching the FIA International Sporting Code when a fan video emerged of him touching and examining Hamilton's car after the Qualifying session on Saturday. He was let off with a penalty and a warning was issued by the FIA to other drivers that touching a rival team's car is forbidden henceforth.
Verstappen, the current F1 racing championship leader, came second in the Sprint behind Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas who fought off the challenge posed by the Red Bull. Despite the disastrous disqualification, Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff could not have asked for a better outcome at the end of the day -- a car on pole position and Hamilton on P10.