Lewis Hamilton has been disqualified from qualifying in Sao Paulo due to a rear wing infringement and Max Verstappen has been fined €50,000 for touching and examining his title rival’s car in a restricted area.
The 36-year-old’s Mercedes “failed the test designed to check the requirements of the last paragraph of Art. 3.6.3 of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 Technical Regulations.”
Hamilton must now start from the back of Saturday’s sprint qualifying race in a major blow to his chances of winning the championship, with Verstappen taking pole.
Verstappen is 19 points clear of Hamilton in the standings as he bids to end Mercedes’ seven-year drivers’ championship monopoly and deny the Briton an eighth world title.
Hamilton was also forced to take a five-place grid penalty ahead of Sunday’s Grand Prix as his car was fitted with a fifth engine due to issues with Mercedes’ power units.
Verstappen received a sanction of his own, being hit with a hefty fine after a “breach of Article 2.5.1 of the FIA International Sporting Code.”
A fan video captured the 24-year-old touching the rear wing of Hamilton’s car in the Parc Ferme after qualifying on Friday.