Lewis Hamilton on US GP disqualification: “There were a lot of other cars that were also illegal”

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Photo credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

One weekend on from the US Grand Prix in Austin the disqualifications of Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc are still the talk of the town in Mexico City. Four cars were checked for plank wear after the race, and cars number 44 and 16 were found to have worn down more than the allowed 1 mm, prompting disqualification.

Cars 1 and 4, belonging to race winner Max Verstappen and eventual runner-up Lando Norris were deemed legal, but the 50% fail rate prompted people to suggest that all cars should have been tested, or at least those of the teammates.

Lewis Hamilton was just done with his media duties when he was told by Toto Wolff that he was removed from the results.

“I just came out of the press conference, got back, and I was about to get in the ice tub, and then Toto came running down and told me. Obviously [I was] devastated [as] it had been such a great day and great race.

“But yeah, and then I didn’t find out fully until I was back home. Yeah, just a bit deflated after the day, but there were lots of positives to take from it.”

The seven time world champion then suggested more DSQ’s would have been in order.

“Firstly I’ve heard from several different sources that there were a lot of other cars that were also illegal,” he explained. “But they weren’t tested, so they got away with it.

“I’ve been racing here 16 years, there’s been times where there’s been many other scenarios like this where some people got away with certain things, and some people have just been unlucky they got tested.

“So I think ultimately there probably needs to be some sort of better structure in terms of making sure it’s fair and even across the board.”

McLaren driver Lando Norris, who inherited second place from Hamilton, agreed a better process should be in place.

“I would have loved if they checked all cars,” he said.“Yeah, they should have done [the whole grid]. I think the main thing was, you know… I don’t want to say anything. It can always bite you one day.”

The young Briton thought it would make sense to at least check the teammate’s car if one is deemed illegal.

“It’s more teams I guess. [It’s] unlikely that two cars are that different, so if one car is illegal than a high chance that the other car is.”

Hamilton’s fellow disqualifyee Charles Leclerc was completely surprised by the exclusion, as Ferrari saw no issues post-qualifying.

“Honestly, it was a complete surprise,” the Monegasque explained. “Because on Friday when we could change the car, there was zero wear, so it’s not like we were touching anywhere.

“Then you get to the race and obviously, things haven’t changed, but we were illegal.

“Rules are rules, and they need to be respected, so it’s not an excuse to say that on Friday we were fine. We need to look into it to try and better anticipate what is going to be the wear.”

The team was confident their wear would be within limits after the sprint on Saturday, the Ferrari driver said.

“Also on the Saturday night, we could see more or less where we are touching and we thought there was still plenty of margin.

“And then we finished the Sunday and it was a big surprise, so we are still in the analysing part of where exactly did we wear the plank more than what we expected.”