LEWIS HAMILTON'S title hopes have been hit after he was disqualified from qualifying at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix for a technical infringement on his Mercedes car.
It means he will start tonight's Sprint Qualifying race from the back of the grid after his Drag Reduction System (DRS) was found to have broken regulations.
The Brit was set for pole in the 24-lap race following an impressive showing in qualifying that saw him finish ahead of World Championship leader Max Verstappen.
But Jo Bauer, technical delegate at governing body FIA, found something amiss with his DRS following Friday afternoon's action at the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo.
The system was alleged to have opened up further than the permitted range, and thus reduced drag, while increasing top speed.
Verstappen is now in pole but he is in trouble too as he has been fined $50k for breaching rules around 'parc ferme', the secure area in the paddock where the Formula 1 cars are given safety checks by race officials.
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The Red Bull star was found to have touched the rear wing on rival Hamilton's car after qualifying.
Verstappen was called to see the stewards in Brazil after a fan video emerged showing him make the mistake.
Verstappen will head into the 24-lap sprint – which sets the grid for Sunday's main GP – with a 19-point lead over Hamilton in the drivers’ championship, and with three points on offer to the winner.
Hamilton also has a five-place grid penalty for the main grand prix after Mercedes fitted a new engine to his car. It was his fifth of the campaign and the maximum allowed is three.
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