Lewis Hamilton, the seven-time world champion, recently shared his emotional turmoil after being disqualified from the 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying. The shocking news left him feeling “deflated and powerless,” with him adding that his “heart just sunk” upon hearing the unfortunate outcome. This event marked a significant setback for Hamilton, who was fighting for yet another world championship title that year.
The Technical Infringement: A Small Error with Massive Consequences
The disqualification resulted from a technical infringement involving the rear wing and DRS on the Mercedes W12. Less than a 1mm difference in the DRS slot gap measurement led to the penalty, following Red Bull’s suspicions and prompt alert to the FIA. Max Verstappen also faced a $50,000 fine for examining and touching the rear wing of the Mercedes in Parc Ferme conditions.
The Uphill Battle: Hamilton’s Fight to Stay in the Championship Race
With his heart heavy from the disqualification, Hamilton faced a daunting challenge on race day – starting at the back of the grid. In a recent video from Mercedes, he shared his initial thoughts:
“I remember that moment for me, my heart just sunk, because I knew I had to win every race. And I remember in that moment I thought: ‘it’s over, I can’t win this world championship’.
“With all the work that we had done through the year, I just felt so deflated and so powerless. And somehow, and it’s been something that I’ve been able to do my whole career, somehow I was able to move on.
“There’s nothing you can do about the past, you move forwards. I just stayed [back] in the evening and put [the DSQ] aside, I did all the studying. Then came back the next day and I drove from last to first.”
Interestingly, Mercedes decided not to appeal the punishment at the time, stating, “We want to win these World Championships on the race track.” Despite Hamilton’s impressive comeback in Brazil, winning by over 10 seconds, he ultimately failed to secure the 2021 World Championship after a controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.