Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen Photograph:( AFP )
Hamilton had already been hit with a five-place grid penalty for the main event after the engine was changed on his Mercedes
In a fresh blow to the Formula One world championship hopes, Lewis Hamilton, who trails Max Verstappen by 19 points in the title race, was disqualified from qualifying at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix over a rear-wing infringement. F1 stewards sent the Mercedes racer Hamilton from first to last in the lineup for Saturday's Sao Paulo sprint race after technical infringement was found related to the DRS system.
It is important to note here that the 100km sprint determines the starting grid for Sunday's Grand Prix in Brazil. The seven-time world champion Hamilton had already been hit with a five-place grid penalty for the main event after the engine was changed on his Mercedes.
The stewards explained: "In lay terms, there is a gap between the upper and lower parts of the rear wing. When the DRS is not activated this gap must be between 10mm and 15mm. The car passed this part of the test."
"When DRS is activated, which raises the upper element of the wing to a flatter position, the gap must be between 10mm and 85mm. The maximum gap is measured, in accordance with TD/011-19, by pushing an 85mm gauge against the gap with a maximum load of 10N (ten newtons.) If the gauge goes through then the car has failed the test."
"In this case, the gauge would not pass through at the inner section of the wing, but did at the outer section of the wing. This test was repeated four times with two different gauges, once being done in the presence of the Stewards and representatives of the Competitor."
On the other hand, stewards fined Red Bull's championship leader Max Verstappen 50,000 euros ($57,250) for touching and examining the rear wing of Hamilton's Mercedes following qualifying in Parc Ferme, which in itself was a suspected breach of Article 2.5.1 of the FIA International Sporting Code.
That article states: "in the Parc Ferme, only the officials assigned may enter. No operation, checking, tuning or repair is allowed unless authorised by the same officials or by the applicable regulations."
The stewards released statement, which read: "The stewards heard from the driver of car 33 (Max Verstappen) and team representative. The stewards also examined a fan video taken from across the track, CCTV video footage taken from pit lane and in car footage from car 14, car 33, car 44 and car 77."
"In all, these videos gave a clear picture of what occurred in parc fermé following the qualifying session. Verstappen exits the car, then moves to the rear of his car. He then takes his gloves off and puts his right hand at the slot-gap of the rear wing of his car."
"He then moves to car 44 and repeats the exercise, touching the rear wing in two places, once on either side of the DRS actuation device, but on the bottom rear side of the wing, in the area of the slot gap and never near the actuator or the end fixation points."