Lewis Hamilton has retained his front row grid position for the Brazilian Grand Prix despite the stewards investigating the positioning of his car on the grid ahead of Saturday’s sprint race.
Three drivers, including Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, all lined up slightly outside the width of their grid box for the start of the sprint race, prompting the investigation.
The three cars were visibly out of line with the rest of the pack when viewed from behind, but only by a marginal amount and, according to the stewards, did not gain an advantage from their positioning.
The stewards also noted that the grid boxes at Interlagos are slightly narrower than at other circuits, contributing to the difficulty of staying between the lines.
“The stewards reviewed the start sequence, as it was observed that multiple cars were potentially out of their grid box in violation of Article 8.6.1.a) of the FIA International Sporting Code, being either to the left or right of the grid box,” a stewards’ statement said.
“Having reviewed all available angles of video, and making measurements on the grid, the stewards noted that the grid boxes were slightly smaller than usual and that the drivers’ visibility makes compliance extremely difficult and that no driver was in a position that gained any advantage.
“The stewards are therefore satisfied to take no further action.”
Hamilton, who finished third in the sprint race, will gain one place on the grid for Sunday’s grand prix as a result of Carlos Sainz, who finished second, being hit with a five-place grid penalty for taking a new engine this weekend.
Hamilton will line up alongside teammate George Russell on pole position — the first Mercedes front row lockout of the season — and ahead of the two Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez in third and fourth.