‘F*ck them all’: F1 boss fumes as champ Hamilton is bizarrely disqualified from Grand Prix qualifying
Reigning F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has been disqualified from qualifying at the Brazilian Grand Prix over a technical infringement on his Mercedes.
Hamilton's loss was rival Max Verstappen's gain, as his main competitor for the championship crown led the field for the 100km dash event at Interlagos.
Even so, he was unable to take pole position with Valtteri Bottas snatching the lead, leaving the Belgian-Dutch youngster in second for the main race on Sunday.
Verstappen himself was not completely free of trouble and picked up a $57,200 fine for examining Hamilton's rear wing.
Mercedes announced that they would not lodge an appeal against the decision to punish Hamilton, stating: "We want to win these World Championships on the race track".
They conceded that it was "unlikely" Verstappen’s actions had caused the fault",but felt it was "an open question".
Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff, who was caught on radio saying "f*ck them all", has spoken of his disbelief at the decision to reprimand Hamilton, labeling it a "joke".
"I spent a lot of time with him," he said. "Disbelief. Disbelief [as to] how things went, with a certain respect for the stewards’ difficulty in that situation because it’s certainly not easy ruling on such a topic where it’s about a world championship, and they need to look at the specific situation and maybe not at the big picture."
"But to be honest until late this afternoon, we believed that it was OK, because the wing was damaged, one side was OK, the middle was OK; the right-side was not OK.
"That means we actually had a performance disadvantage and we thought that, in consideration of all these aspects, the FIA would say there was damage and therefore we weren’t in breach of the regulations.
"They also said there was nothing that happened with intent from our side. Then we are reading 'disqualified', which honestly, I couldn’t believe – I thought Ron Meadows [Mercedes Sporting Director] was making a joke when I saw the WhatsApp.
"So, strange things happen, but you have to take it on the chin and the last 60 minutes of motor racing from Valtteri and from Lewis brought all the enjoyment back with all the frustrations that happened before."
Ahead of the Sprint event, the stewards explained why they had handed the penalty to Hamilton.
"In lay terms, there is a gap between the upper and lower parts of the rear wing. When the DRS [drag reduction system] 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 [rules], 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."
Reacting online, one fan said that the FIA had effectively "gifted this championship to Red Bull" by changing "the regulations to give Red Bull a better chance before the season started".
FIA have gifted this championship to Red Bull, changed the regulations to give Red Bull a better chance before the season started— JBH (@JBH_swfc) November 13, 2021
Max is so quick that Lewis needs an illegal car to keep up yet is still behind in the standings...— 🦊 (@lcfcjm3) November 13, 2021
"So, Mercedes has been cheating. I already knew it, I just didn't have proof," scoffed a counter-argument.
"Max is so quick that Lewis needs an illegal car to keep up yet is still behind in the standings," said one Hamilton detractor.
Wolff denied that his radio profanities related to the debacle. “I obviously didn’t mean it towards any of the regulations," he told Sky F1.
"It is a general mindset that we have that sometimes when there is hardship you need to build up resistance and say f*ck them all.
“The point is that yesterday the car was being tested and today and two hours before the race we got the information that we were disqualified.
So, Mercedes has been cheating. I already knew it, I just didn't have proof.— Vai Corinthians (@lucassennav8) November 13, 2021
Why do people dislike Hamilton so much? Honest question. Is it b/c he wins a lot? Personality? Just wanting to see a new driver at the top of F1? I— John Benton (@JBentonPhoto) November 13, 2021
"That is, in a way, sad because there are procedures in Formula 1, there is a certain modus operandi and a protocol you have to follow.
“We had a car that wasn’t in breach of the regulations of the 85 millimetre slot gap, we failed consecutive tests by the tiniest of margins."
Seven-time champion Hamilton will start Sunday's race in tenth, trailing Verstappen by 19 points in the World Championship with four races remaining.
If Verstappen scores at least five points more than Hamilton this weekend, which he would guarantee by winning the race, he would be able to finish second at all three remaining events and still win his first world title.