EXPLAINED: Why Lewis Hamilton is Under Investigation for Apparently Breaking DRS Rules in Brazil

Published 11/12/2021, 5:00 PM EST
Formula One F1 – Brazilian Grand Prix – Jose Carlos Pace Circuit, Sao Paulo, Brazil – November 12, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton arrives at the circuit ahead of practice REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli


What looked like a lucky day for Hamilton brings with it a dark twist of fate. After claiming pole position for the sprint race, Lewis Hamilton is now under investigation for DRS infringement.

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As the celebrations at Mercedes hit pause, Hamilton will have to wait a judgment call from the stewards. The FIA detected the violation and penned a report to the FIA. “The uppermost rear wing element adjustable positions were checked on car number 44 … The requirement for the minimum distance was fulfilled. But the requirement for the maximum of 85mm, when the DRS system is deployed and tested in accordance with TD/011-19, were not fulfilled.”

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To put it simply, Hamilton has been referred to as the stewards for using the overtaking aid beyond its maximum value. When the DRS is active, the distance between the main plane and the flap must be very compressed, as little as 10mm thin or as much as 85mm. On Hamilton’s car, however, the maximum value of 85mm was not respected.

Although the verdict is still out, the champion may incur a serious penalty. For the sake of his championship title, Mercedes will surely have their fingers crossed.

What does this mean for Lewis Hamilton?

A technical infringement would mean being disqualified from the qualifying session. Should this happen, Hamilton will start from the pitlane on Saturday for the sprint.

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Further, in order to rectify the breach, the team will have to change their setup, because they would have to change their rear wing. So, the infringement could domino to a pitlane start on Sunday as well.

Formula One F1 – Brazilian Grand Prix – Jose Carlos Pace Circuit, Sao Paulo, Brazil – November 12, 2021. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in the pits during practice REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

Things have turned downside quickly for Hamilton, who moments ago, was relishing his pole position. The repercussions could be game-changing for the champion and his team. If the pitlane start for the sprint comes into play, will 28 laps be sufficient to make a decent charge through the field? Further, the five-place grid penalty awaits on Sunday; if he escapes a pitlane start, will his starting position favor him?

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A lot of questions loom in the air in the wake of this revelation, yet only the stewards hold the answers. With the 2021 title in their hands, both Mercedes and Red Bull will have to wait with bated breath with the fans as we wait for an announcement.

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Shreya Sanjeev

611 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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