Hamilton’s title hopes were severely hurt when Verstappen got away with a fine after an investigation
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen were both named commissioners ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The world champion has already been investigated for an alleged technical violation on the rear wing of his Mercedes, but his title rival was also found in the dock after footage showing him inspecting Hamilton’s car was shown.
Verstappen was fined 50,000 euros for being accused by the FIA of violating Article 2.5.1 of their Sports Act, which stipulates: “Only assigned officials are allowed to enter the Parc Ferme. No operation, inspection, adjustment or repair is permitted unless authorized by the same officials or the applicable regulations. “
According to an official statement, Hamilton accepted that “it is unlikely that Verstappen’s actions caused the error”. [with the rear wing], however, they thought it was an open question ”.
Hamilton had received a starting penalty of five places prior to the Brazilian Grand Prix for another engine change. The trade-off was between a boost in strength and another setback to his hopes for an eighth record title as he couldn’t start higher than sixth on Sunday.
In the sprint qualifying race he took pole position in Sao Paolo, but after it was discovered on Saturday afternoon that his car did not comply with the DRS rules, he was placed in the last sprint field.
His alleged break concerns the size of the gap between two elements of the rear wing of his car.
A report by the Technical Delegate states: “The adjustment positions of the top rear wing element were checked for car number 44. The requirement for the minimum distance was met. But the requirement for a maximum of 85 mm, if the DRS system is used and tested according to TD / 011-19, was not met. “
That explains why Verstappen was seen touching the car, but he paid a price for it – though he would have been grateful not to have been punished more severely.
Despite the starting penalty, Hamilton had insisted that Mercedes would “give everything” to catch up with Verstappen.
After winning the Mexican Grand Prix, the 24-year-old had four remaining races in the championship with a 19-point lead.