LEW BLEW IT

Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc were both disqualified from Sunday’s US Grand Prix after their cars failed post-race inspections.

Former world champion Hamilton had finished second behind Max Verstappen in Austin while Leclerc came in sixth.

Both drivers saw those results scratched, however, after a technical team found excessive wear of their cars floor planks.

The disqualification came following a hearing that took place approximately four hours after Verstappen, who has already clinched the driver’s championship, powered to victory in Sunday’s race.

A statement by motorsport’s governing body, the FIA, said both teams had acknowledged the findings of the inspection report, stating that the irregularities were likely caused by the bumpy track and the tight turnaround for Sunday’s race after Saturday’s sprint.

Hamilton’s disqualification means McLaren’s Lando Norris was promoted to second, with Leclerc’s Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz, who finished fourth, bumped to third.

Mercedes driver George Russell moved up to fifth from seventh following Leclerc’s disqualification.

A statement said: “The Stewards heard from the team representatives of car 44, the Technical Delegate, the FIA Single Seater Director and the FIA Single Seater Technical Director.

“During the hearing the team acknowledged that the measurement performed by the FIA Technical Team was correct and stated that the high wear on the skid pads was probably a result of the unique combination of the bumpy track and the Sprint race schedule that minimised the time to set up and check the car before the race.

“The Stewards note that the onus is on the competitor to ensure that the car is in compliance with the regulations at all times during an event.

“In this particular case, the rear skid in the area defined in the Technical Delegate’s report was outside of the thresholds which includes a tolerance for wear.

“Therefore, the standard penalty for a breach of the Technical Regulations is imposed.”

It comes after Hamilton had earlier told reporters how he felt he could have won the US GP had it not been for a bungled strategy call and pitstop.

Hamilton missed out by under two seconds and believes on another day he would have finished ahead of the Dutchman.

Speaking ahead of his disqualification, he said: “Yes, I do think we would have been in position to fight Max and we made life harder for ourselves than it needed to be.

“There were a lot of areas where we could have been better and the positives are we could match them for pace.

“Second is great. To come in this weekend and have real strength, it is a solid second, it feels really positive.

“We have a few races ahead and we don’t know how the car will be, but if we are in position like this, and get the strategy right and the pitstops right, we can be racing for a win.” – SuperSport/Sun.

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