Hamilton penalised for technical infringement, Verstappen fined €50,000 for touching car

Championship rivals punished by stewards at Brazilian Grand Prix

It was all happening at the Brazilian Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton's world championship hopes received another blow on Saturday when he was disqualified from qualifying and relegated to the back of the grid for the sprint race.

Hamilton, the seven-time champion, was penalised after his Mercedes' DRS system (flap mounted on the rear wing of the car) was found to have exceeded allowed limits. The winner of the 24-lap dash at Interlagos takes three points, and pole position for Sunday's Grand Prix, with the result determining the grid for the main race.

Hamilton trails championship rival Max Verstappen by 19 points and had had already been hit with a five-place grid penalty for Sunday's main event after the engine was changed on his Mercedes car.

Verstappen too had the rule book thrown at him. Stewards fined Red Bull's championship leader Verstappen 50,000 euros ($57,250) after he touched and examined the rear wing of Hamilton's Mercedes following qualifying.

The Dutch, 24, had earlier qualified second for Saturday's 100km sprint race. After the session on Friday ended, Verstappen inspected the rear wing elements Hamilton's Mercedes, touching them with his hands.

The stewards said in a statement that Verstappen had breached article 2.5.1 of the international sporting code. The article covers behaviour in the 'parc ferme' following qualifying.

In-car footage and video filmed by a fan was looked at by stewards during the hearing. It showed Verstappen getting out of his car, removing his gloves and putting his right hand into the slot gap of the Red Bull's rear wing. He then moved to the Mercedes and did the same, touching the rear wing in two places.

Updated: November 13th 2021, 6:02 PM
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