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Massa excluded from Brazilian GP for tire infringement

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Felipe Massa has been excluded from Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix after the stewards found his right-rear tire to be 27ºC above the maximum permitted temperature at the start of the race.

Massa had finished eighth at Interlagos, picking up four points for Williams, but has now been stripped of this position following an investigation by the stewards.

“On the grid the tread temperature and minimum tire starting pressure of the right hand side rear tire was checked on car number 19 [Massa] after the “5-minutes” signal was given,” FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer wrote.

“The temperature measured on the tread of the right hand side rear tire of car number 19 was 137 °C, 27 °C above the maximum tread temperature of 110 °C allowed by the official tire supplier. The corresponding tire pressure at 137 °C was 20.6 psi, 0.1 psi above the minimum starting pressure.”

The stewards responded to Bauer’s referral by excluding Massa from the final results.

“The Stewards, having received a report from the Technical Delegate (document), heard from team representatives, FIA Technical Delegate and FIA Technical Assistant, have considered the following matter, determine a breach of the regulations has been committed by the competitor named below and impose the penalty referred to,” a statement said.

“The temperature of the rear right tire was measured in compliance with the FIA Technical Directive TD/029-15. The team did not comply with the FIA Formula One Technical & Sporting Regulations, FIA International Sporting Code and the instructions of the official tire supplier in the event preview.”

The decision sees Romain Grosjean and Max Verstappen move up to eighth and ninth respectively, while Pastor Maldonado now takes the final point for P10.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry. Time just published a brief piece by Wallace saluting Hamilton as a trailblazer.

The idea of Hamilton attending the NASCAR season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).