Lewis Hamilton had ‘sympathy’ from stewards ahead of disqualification in Brazil

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After Lewis Hamilton was disqualified from the Brazillian Grand Prix qualifying session that took place on Friday, the stewards admitted they did have “sympathy” for the seven-time world champion in an FIA document released explaining their stance. Hamilton will start from the back of the grid for Saturday’s sprint qualifying session which goes on to determine the grid for Sunday’s main event, which Hamilton already has a five-place grid penalty to serve.

Issues arose after the rear wing on his Mercedes was found to breach the FIA regulations after setting the fastest time on Friday to potentially start the race at the front of the grid.

However, the disqualification means his main title rival Max Verstappen will lead the way on Saturday, looking to grab pole position ahead of the normal race on Sunday.

Hamilton wasn’t the only driver to be caught up in an investigation regarding the Briton’s rear wing after a Verstappen was fined around £42,000 (50,000 euros) for reaching out and touching the Mercedes in parc ferme. 

It all came after Red Bull lodged a complaint to the FIA about the wing on the Mercedes, with the FIA then impounding Hamilton’s rear wing overnight with an investigation on going regarding his drag reduction system (DRS). 

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The rear wing however was found to have failed an FIA check regarding the upper element, which opens up when the DRS is activated.

Despite the blow, in a document from the FIA explaining the reasons why Hamilton was thrown out of qualifying, the stewards did have sympathy with the Mercedes driver.

It read: “The final point of the Competitor regarding the assembly itself is that it is regular practice for the FIA Technical Department to allow teams to fix minor problems that they find with their cars, even during the Parc Ferme conditions of qualifying.

“Had the Competitor recognized this problem during qualifying they surely would have sought, and the FIA Technical Department confirmed, they would have received permission to fix the parts or tighten bolts if needed.”

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However, the stewards said they were “sympathetic” to Hamilton’s this argument, analysing if this was a mitigating circumstance, for example for crash damage.

But the stewards added they “could not extend this argument to cover parts that were found out of conformity in post-session checks with no obvious reason in evidence other than considering normal running at this event.”

In conclusion, they said that the “regulations are clear and at the moment of the conformity check, the car did not comply.”

This is a huge blow for Mercedes and Hamilton in their fight for the world title, with Verstappen leading the way by 19 points ahead of the Brazillian Grand Prix on Sunday. 

Verstappen was summoned to the stewards over an alleged breach of the FIA International Sporting Code relating to parc ferme conditions, with the championship leader due to start alongside the seven-time world champion on Saturday after being 0.4s behind the Mercedes driver in qualifying.

However, the fine came after a video emerged of Verstappen looking at the rear of the Red Bull, and then reaching out and touching the rear wing of the Mercedes.

Sprint qualifying gets underway at 7.30pm BST on Saturday evening.

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