Formula 1: Hamilton and Leclerc disqualified because of a millimeter

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Hamilton and Leclerc disqualified because of a millimeter

As of: 10:29 a.m. | Reading time: 3 minutes

Lewis Hamilton (l.) und Charles Leclerc


Lewis Hamilton almost won the Formula 1 race in Texas. After the Grand Prix, however, the race stewards also took second place away from the Mercedes driver. Contrite, his team boss had to admit a violation of the rules.

Second-placed Lewis Hamilton was subsequently disqualified from the Formula 1 race in Austin. The race stewards cited a non-compliant underbody on the Brit’s Mercedes as the reason. This means that McLaren driver Lando Norris moves up to second place behind winner Max Verstappen. Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz is now third. Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, who finished sixth, was also removed from the results list due to an irregular floor plate.

According to Article 3.5.9 of the Technical Regulations, “the base plate (…) must be ten millimeters ± 0.2 mm and be uniform when new. A minimum thickness of nine millimeters is accepted due to wear. During the follow-up inspection by the International Automobile Federation (FIA) it was said: “The floor panels […] do not comply with Article 3.5.9 of the Technical Regulations.”

Mercedes had previously admitted the violation of the rules on Hamilton’s car. Apparently, according to measurements taken by the world association’s regulators, the base plate was no longer as thick as required at the end of the race. The team cited the effects of the very bumpy track on the underbody as well as the lack of time to readjust and check the racing car after the sprint on Saturday. The wear on the base plate was greater than expected.

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However, the race stewards stood firm and pointed out that it was the duty of every team to ensure compliance with the regulations. The mandatory standard penalty of exclusion should therefore be imposed. The judges also pointed out the possibility of an objection.

“That doesn’t detract from the progress,” says Hamilton

However, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was insightful. “Others got it right, we made a mistake and there is no wiggle room in the rules. We have to accept it, learn from it and come back stronger next weekend,” said the Austrian.

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Hamilton made a similar statement: “Of course it is disappointing to be disqualified after the race. But that doesn’t take away from the progress we made this weekend.”

Hamilton had narrowly missed victory at the US Grand Prix and remembered the best times in his Silver Arrow, which had been greatly improved with new components. After a thrilling three-way battle with Verstappen and Norris, he crossed the finish line 2.2 seconds behind the Red Bull driver.

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As a result of the two disqualifications, Haas driver Nico Hülkenberg moves from 13th to 11th place, but still remains without a championship point.

Verstappen, on the other hand, celebrated his 50th victory in Formula 1. It was also his 15th Grand Prix triumph in the 19th race of the season. Previously, only he had been able to celebrate so many successes in one season – that was last year – and in the remaining four races he can further improve the record. Only four Formula 1 grandmasters have currently achieved more victories than the 26-year-old. Hamilton (103) is ahead of Michael Schumacher (91), Sebastian Vettel (53) and Alain Prost (51) in the all-time best list.

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