Sunday, December 5, 2021

Brazilian Grand Prix: Hamilton excluded from qualifying before sprint

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Lewis Hamilton will start the sprint qualifying race at the Brazilian Grand Prix on Saturday night from the back of the field after his qualifying time has been excluded.

The Brit had set the fastest time and should start the sprint first, but will now start at the end of the grid, while rival Max Verstappen is instead on pole position to shake Hamilton’s hopes for the title.

Mercedes driver Hamilton was summoned to the commissioners for a technical violation during qualifying in connection with the DRS of his car.

The rear wing of his car was removed and inspected overnight, and FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer found the vehicle to be out of compliance.

As a result, Hamilton will be banned from qualifying results, meaning that he will either start from the end of the grid or possibly from the pit lane, reports AutoSport.

The result of the sprint race on Saturday evening determines the starting order for the main race on Sunday, in which Hamilton already faces a five-place penalty because of Mercedes’ decision to use a new engine.

To justify the decision, a statement by the stewards states:

“If DRS is activated, which lifts the upper wing element to a flatter position, the gap must be between 10 mm and 85 mm. The maximum gap is measured in accordance with TD / 011-19 by pressing an 85 mm gauge against the gap with a maximum load of 10 N (ten newtons). If the gauge passes, the car has failed the test.

“In this case, the track would not go through on the inner part of the wing, but on the outer part of the wing. This test was repeated four times with two different measuring devices, once in the presence of the stewards and representatives of the competitor. “

Mercedes chief designer John Owen claimed that the error could be due to “incorrect assembly of parts” or a combination of errors with the DRS actuator or the swivel joints.

Separately, Verstappen was also fined € 50,000 for touching Hamilton’s car in Parc Ferme, a post-qualifying rule violation.

He won’t be worried about that as his title rival has a massive battle for points in the championship race this weekend, with only three more races to go to Sao Paulo.

Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas will start in second place for the 100 km sprint in the constructors’ championship.

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