Lewis Hamilton has been disqualified from qualifying for the Sao Paulo Grand Prix over a rear-wing infringement.
Seven-time champion Hamilton, who already had a five-place grid penalty for Sunday's Grand Prix, was in scintillating form and finished 0.438 seconds quicker than Verstappen in first practice before his car was referred for the technical issue.
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He now faces starting at the back of the sprint grid after his car was found to be non-compliant. When Hamilton's car was checked, it was found that his rear wing did not comply with the rules - the gap between two elements of the wing when the DRS overtaking aid was deployed was measured to be larger than the maximum permitted distance of 85mm.
In a statement, the stewards explained the reasons for the punishment: "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."
Meanwhiile, Verstappen received a €50,000 fine on Saturday after footage appeared on social media showing the 24-year-old appearing to check the rear wings of his Red Bull and Hamilton's Mercedes with his hands.
Article 2.5.1 of the sporting code states that "no operation, checking, tuning or repair is allowed".
Verstappen leads Hamilton by 19 points with a total 107 points available across the remaining four races.
The Brazilian Grand Prix suits Hamilton's Mercedes but the highest he can start on the grid on Sunday is sixth, should he win the sprint qualifying event,
But despite the penalty, Hamilton remained optimistic ahead of the race.
He said: "It was a very good qualifying session. I am super happy with it. We have the penalty but we give it everything we've got."
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