Hamilton qualified on pole but will now start from the back of the grid after stopping his car out on the track at the end of qualifying.
He was told by Mclaren’s stewards to stop because there was insufficient fuel in the car for him to get back to the pits and provide a sample.
Rules on fuel
Article 6.6.2 of the technical regulations: “Competitors must ensure that a one litre sample of fuel may be taken from the car at any time during the event.
“Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the stewards of the meeting), if a sample of fuel is required after a practice session the car concerned must have first been driven back to the pits under its own power.”
The F1 rules require the car to return to the pits with one litre of fuel on board – running less fuel gives a performance advantage.
Although in this case the advantage gained in no way accounted for Hamilton’s 0.578-second advantage over second placed Pastor Maldonado of Williams, the stewards felt they had to penalise McLaren.
Their ruling said: “A team member had put an insufficient quantity of fuel into the car, thereby resulting in the car having to be stopped on the circuit in order to be able to provide the required amount for sampling purposes.
Spanish Grand Prix 2012, Circuit de Catalunya, day three
- Sunday 13 May: Race 12:10 BST BBC One and BBC One HD, BBC Radio 5 live and live text commentary on BBC Sport website; Highlights 19:00-20:00 BST, BBC Three