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Hamilton points the finger


Lewis Hamilton has claimed that he and Charles Leclerc were not the only drivers to have run with illegal skid blocks during last weekend's Grand Prix.

The pair were disqualified after it was discovered that the planks on both their cars had suffered excessive wear as a result of their cars being set-up too low, most likely in a bid to aid pace.

Mercedes and Ferrari both blamed the lack of practice over a Sprint weekend together with the fact that there is only one session before the cars are placed under parc ferme conditions for the remainder of the weekend. The Maranello outfit also blamed the intense wind as being a factor.

Four cars were checked at race end, those of Hamilton and Leclerc along with those of Max Verstappen and Lando Norris, and while only the Ferrari and Mercedes were declared illegal, Hamilton claims that sources within the paddock have told him that there were others.

"I've heard from several different sources that there were a lot of other cars that were also illegal and weren't tested, so they get away with it," the seven-time world champion told reporters in Mexico.

"I've been racing here for sixteen years and there's been times that there's been many other scenarios like this," he continued. "Some people have gotten away with some things, and some people have just been unlucky they got tested. Ultimately, there needs to be some better structure to make sure it's fair and even across the board.

"We've never had that problem in Austin before," he added, "it's just that we had a sprint race this time. An easy fix for that one, would be to just approach the weekend differently where the car is not set from Friday morning, especially at the bumpiest track we have been to.

"That's really the only reason there's failures, because it's so bumpy. Some cars have better ride quality than others. If you look at the Ferrari, Charles' head and my head, we have a pretty bad ride. It's bumping around quite a lot because the cars are hitting the deck, it's not because we are generally just pushing the car too low."

Former teammate, Valtteri Bottas has suggested that the tests should have been carried out on all the cars, revealing that the Alfa Romeos had been deliberately run higher than normal in Austin due to fears over excessive wear to the plank.

"Some other teams had issues as well," said the Finn. "We couldn't run the car low enough, and I feel like with the track like that, with such low mechanical grip on the old Tarmac sections, if you don't have load and your power is too high, then you lose even more.

"I feel like I was quite compromised with the set-up because of the bumps. We could have run lower, but then we probably would have been illegal."

Asked if all the cars should have been checked, he said: "To be fair for everyone on a track like that, probably yes.

"For sure, some teams took more of a gamble on the ride height and stiffness," he continued, "some were more conservative, maybe us perhaps. So on a track like that, conditions like that, probably yeah, but I don't know if it's possible time-wise."

Asked if he felt his team was compromised by running higher in order to avoid excessive wear, he replied: "Yes, others were as well, but not some maybe. In the end, they (Hamilton and Leclerc) were punished at least."

However, world champion, Max Verstappen doesn't agree that all cars should be checked.

"Then you would get the race result on Tuesday, I guess, when you have to check out every car," he said. "The problem is that it's impossible to check everything.

"I think the thought process from every team is that no one wants to be illegal," he added. "So no one sets up the car to be illegal. But then of course you have these random checks that get carried out. Sometimes it's the top four, sometimes it's in the middle of the field, the back. That's just how it goes. You can't check every car for every single part of the car.

"Otherwise we need 100 more people to do these kind of things. I think the only thing is when you check one car of the team and it's illegal, then I think you should check the other one as well. That for me is the only thing. Otherwise you DQ one, and the other one moves up one position, when normally you always run quite similar setups."

Hamilton believes that the late disqualification of the cars is damaging for the sport as it seeks to grow.

"We are continuing to grow as a sport, great events, great races, and when people go home most often happy from the experience as something positive and then they hear of cars being disqualified or taken out, it's just they might not fully understand the detail of it all and probably don't care," he said.

"Every time we take two steps forward we take at least a step back with something like that, so we've got to try and figure out how we move forward constantly as a sport."

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1. Posted by TON, 03/11/2023 8:25

"Tot and Lewis are great at throwing mud. Think back to team cap "

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2. Posted by dejan, 28/10/2023 2:05

"Since the number of tested cars is so low, even if one fails for something that is easily measured they should test all cars for the same exact violation. Those that are found legal would have the benefit of moving up the final classification and those that were in violation would all be punished and not rewarded."

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3. Posted by Defiant, 27/10/2023 22:17

"I agree with Mad Matt, if one is out of spec, then the sister car should be checked also. It just makes sense. I've also read that other people have suggested that because 50% of the tested cars failed, they should test more until the % is less than a pre agreed amount. Maybe 10%, that seems reasonable to me.

Lewis should also name names if his accusations have any merit. Otherwise he's just throwing around mud hoping it'll stick. Sorry Lewis, innocent until proven guilty."

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4. Posted by Chester, 27/10/2023 16:38

"I understand the sentiment that its not "fair" that not all cars were tested. But regulations are always subject to the law of unintended consequences.

And it seems in this case the scrutineering regulations were followed."

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5. Posted by Ricardo_sanchez, 27/10/2023 9:53

"It’s just common sense to check both cars once one of the pair has found to be non-conforming. How can we be sure that Sainz was legitimately 3rd at Austin? It’s crazy not to have tested them, in the circumstances.

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6. Posted by Mad Matt, 27/10/2023 8:36

"To me it is fair as the selection of cars to test is random so no bias towards any specific team. Teams can take a gamble and risk getting caught and in an ideal world the sample size should be larger to make sure they get caught... on the other hand it's quite a gamble because the consequences of getting caught are disqualification.

Personally I think any car which fails scrutineering should automatically trigger a check on the sister car.

Obviously nobody wants to see cars disqualified and yes I agree that there should be an FP2 even for a sprint but Lewis would do well to take a leaf out of Tot's book and take it on the chin."

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