Lancashire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Graham Read
Formula 1 Correspondent
5:41 AM 23rd October 2023

Hamilton And Leclerc Disqualified From US Grand Prix

There was a dramatic turn of events long after the chequered flag had flown at the end of yesterday’s United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas when Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc were disqualified when standard post race checks showed their cars had breached the technical regulations.

Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes was one of two cars disqualified after failing post race checks
Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes was one of two cars disqualified after failing post race checks
Both cars had clearly suffered excessive wear of the underfloor plank used to ensure that an unduly low ride height is not used to increase performance. Mercedes had introduced an upgraded floor for this weekend and Hamilton had appeared to be more competitive than before towards Red Bull’s dominant Max Verstappen, enabling him to take a pair of second place finishes before his subsequent disqualification from the Grand Prix. No other cars checked, including those of Verstappen and McLaren’s Lando Norris, were found to be similarly in breach of the regulations.

The Mercedes and Ferrari teams agreed with the post race findings about the cars of Hamilton and Leclerc and accepted that the standard penalty of disqualification should apply. Toto Wolff, the Mercedes part owner and Team Principal, blamed the in places bumpy nature of the track and the Sprint weekend format, but accepted that it had failed where others hadn’t and would learn from the disqualification.

The deletion of Hamilton and Leclerc from the Grand Prix results promoted Norris and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz to second and third on the podium behind the victorious Verstappen, with Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez, Mercedes’ George Russell and the Alpine of Pierre Gasly now completing the top six finishers. The disqualifications also meant that the Williams cars of Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant both finished in the top ten points scoring positions. This meant Sargeant scored the first points of his F1 career on home soil and became the first American driver to finish in the points since Michael Andretti at the 1993 Italian Grand Prix.