Hamilton title blow as Mercedes driver disqualified from qualifying
Lewis Hamilton's championship hopes have suffered a major blow as he has been disqualified from qualifying in São Paulo, while Max Verstappen was fined.
Lewis Hamilton has been disqualified from qualifying in São 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.
Hamilton handed grid penalty
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.