Lewis Hamilton faces disaster in Brazil. First, the Mercedes driver receives the engine penalty, and then he is also disqualified. The World Cup is getting away. Frontrunner Max Verstappen can live with his sentence.
A three-page document dealt Lewis Hamilton’s next World Cup blow in a disastrous weekend in Brazil. An erratic rear winger in his Mercedes has negotiated the Englishman’s exclusion from the search for his starting place. The race hosts became aware of a technical breach in their judgment on Saturday and after his position the day before, put the 36-year-old back for a sprint in the evening.
World Championship leader Max Verstappen took advantage of this penalty and allowed him to start from pole position with the new format over 24 laps at Autódromo José Carlos Pace. The Dutchman himself had to fear in Interlagos.
Juice buses for Verstappen
Verstappen received a fine of 50,000 euros for violating the provisions of the so-called Park Fermi. The race stewards said he had proven to have illegally touched Red Bull’s backside, particularly Hamilton, during Friday’s technical examination.
“The stewards realized that it had become the norm for drivers to touch the cars after qualifying and racing,” the stewards wrote on Saturday. “This general tendency was seen as largely harmless and therefore was not uniformly punished. However, it is a violation of Parc Fermé rules and has a high potential for harm.” Verstappen touched the back of Hamilton’s car “slightly”.
Mercedes later stated that a check-up of the championship leader was unlikely to result in a rear malfunction. However, Hamilton’s penalty with disqualification was brutal.
A new engine was actually illegally used in his company’s car on Friday. This means the 36-year-old must drop five places in the final fourth race of the season on Sunday (6pm).
With the new leadership, Hamilton left rival Verstappen more than four-tenths behind in chasing the starting position. The British FIA World Motorsport hosts accused Britain of having the rear wing of its silver arrow curved too much. The measurements confirmed the suspicions. The so-called Drag Reduction System (DRS), which increases speed on straights, gave Hamilton an illegal advantage.
Hamilton slows down in the world title fight
The hosts at least agreed with Mercedes’ declaration that something had “goed wrong” when the entrance test had not been passed and that there was no intention of doing so. But that doesn’t help Hamilton either. In the World Cup, he is already behind Verstappen by 19 points. The winner of the race can get three points.
After the start chase on Friday, Verstappen was seen touching the rear wing of his car and then the wing of Hamilton’s Mercedes. The hosts also rated a fan video for this. Verstappen and a Red Bull representative have been heard – they can get over the fine.
Written by Martin Moravec, dpa
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