Hamilton ‘heard from sources other cars illegal’ after USGP
By Ian Parkes
Friday 27th October, 2023 - 9:59am
Lewis Hamilton has claimed other F1 cars were illegal following the United States Grand Prix after being given information by “several different sources”.
Seven-time F1 champion Hamilton’s Mercedes and Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari were found to have breached the technical regulations regarding the rear skid pads on their cars, leading to their disqualification after finishing runner-up and sixth respectively.
Despite the severely bumpy nature of the Circuit of The Americas, and the fact the cars were locked down under parc fermé conditions after Friday’s qualifying session for the grand prix, the pads on the W14 and SF23 were found to be beyond the threshold of the rules, even taking into account “a tolerance for wear”.
The two cars were among four tested – Max Verstappen’s Red Bull and the McLaren of Lando Norris the others. Despite the 50 percent ratio, the FIA scrutineers opted not to test any other car.
Addressing what was the second disqualification of his career, Hamilton said: “I heard from several different sources there were a lot of other cars that were illegal, but they weren’t tested so they got away with it.
“I have been racing for 16 years and there have been many other scenarios like this where some people have got away with certain things, and some have been unlucky that they’ve got tested.
“Ultimately, there needs to be a better structure in terms of making it fair and even across the board.”
Hamilton feels changes need to be made to the FIA’s regulations regarding parc fermé over a sprint weekend as no team is allowed to make a technical change to their cars from Friday evening.
“We have never had that problem in Austin,” said Hamilton. “It was just because we had a sprint race as well.
“An easy fix is that we approach the weekend differently, where the cars are not set from Friday, especially at the bumpiest track because that’s the only reason there were failures, and some cars have better ride quality than others.
“If you look at Charles’ head and my head (from the onboard video cameras) we have a pretty bad ride, bumping around quite a lot because the car is hitting the deck. It’s not because we are pushing the car too low.”
The DQ was a natural disappointment for Hamilton, particularly after enjoying his strongest weekend of the year following the introduction of a new floor, with the Briton just two seconds behind Verstappen at the chequered flag.
But for a poor strategy from Mercedes at the end of the first stint, Hamilton could arguably have been in the hunt for the win, albeit one that would have ultimately been expunged from the records.
“I had just come out of the press conference and I was about to get into the ice tub and Toto (Wolff) came running down and told me,” recalled Hamilton when asked by Speedcafe for his feelings on the situation.
“It was obviously devastating because it was such a great day and a great race, and then I didn’t find out fully until I was home (a rental property in Austin).
“I was deflated after the day but there were a lot of positives to take from it.”
One of those is that Hamilton finally has a car beneath him he can confidently push given the floor has led to a better airflow at the rear, and he could feel the difference.
“Rear end is the area where I’ve always wanted improvements,” said Hamilton, speaking ahead of this weekend’s Mexican GP. “Because of the lack of that, it has led to a lack of confidence to attack the corners.
“So the step we took there has just given me the confidence to be able to send it more, and it was a great feeling.
“It was probably a tenth (of a second) upgrade. I probably got two-tenths out of it just because of the extra confidence that I was able to carry throughout the race.”