NASCAR & Auto Racing

Hamilton could be penalized for illegal use of tires during practice at Brazilian Grand Prix

SAO PAULO, Brazil – Lewis Hamilton could be penalized by Formula One’s governing body for illegally using two sets of tires in Friday’s practice session for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

FIA said in a statement that the McLaren driver was one of three people – along with Honda’s Jenson Button and Super Aguri’s Takuma Sato – who used two sets of wet tires.

FIA officials were meeting to decide whether the drivers would be penalized, but the governing body did not say what penalties they would face, if any.

Among the possible penalties was the loss of 10 starting positions.

The rules state “no driver may use more than one set of wet and one set of extreme-weather tires during” the free practice sessions.

The governing body requested separate meetings with each driver and a team representative.

Hamilton enters the season-ending Brazilian GP with a four-point advantage over McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso and a seven-point lead over Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, the only other driver in contention. It is the tightest race for Formula One’s title in 21 years.

A top-two finish on Sunday would make Hamilton the first rookie and youngest F1 champion ever.

He was fifth fastest in Friday morning’s practice with a time of 1 minute, 21.121 seconds. Raikkonen led the practice at the 2.6-mile counterclockwise track in 1:19.580.