Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff are taking their disqualification from the United States Grand Prix on the chin and moving on, accepting responsibility for their error after a technical breach stole a P2 finish from the Mercedes star in Texas.
The seven-time world champion closed a seven-second gap down to a two-second one after the final round of pit stops in Austin, passing McLaren driver Lando Norris for second before closing in on eventual race winner Max Verstappen.
Unfortunately for Hamilton, this performance counted for nothing. Both he and Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc were called to the stewards after it was revealed that the team’s floors were not in compliance with the FIA’s technical regulations. The pair were promptly disqualified from the race.
The British star remained upbeat despite the outcome, insisting: “It is of course disappointing to be disqualified post-race but that doesn’t take away from the progress we’ve made this weekend.”
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However, there were no complaints from the Mercedes side with team principal Wolff stating: “Set-up choices on a sprint weekend are always a challenge with just one hour of free practice – and even more so at a bumpy circuit like COTA and running a new package.
“In the end, all of that doesn’t matter. Others got it right where we got it wrong and there’s no wiggle room in the rules. We need to take it on the chin, do the learning, and come back stronger next weekend.”
This attitude was backed up by trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin, who added: “We are of course naturally very disappointed to lose our podium finish. Unfortunately, it is one of the pitfalls of the sprint format where we have a solitary hour of running before parc fermé.
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“Without running at a race fuel load in FP1, combined with a circuit as bumpy as this and the parts of the track where the drivers have to put the car during the Grand Prix, have contributed to the higher than expected wear levels. We will go away and learn from this but also take the positives from our experience as a whole.”
Unfortunately for Hamilton, this disqualification has produced a major points swing in favour of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez as the pair battle it out for P2 in the Drivers’ Championship. The gap had been cut to just 19 points at the time of the chequered flag at the Circuit of the Americas but has now drifted to a more daunting tally of 39.
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