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‘Minor’ detail that saw Lewis Hamilton disqualified in US race

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lewis hamilton 2023 united states grand prix disqualification
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton. Photo/GB News
  • Even the smallest details can have significant consequences
  • Lewis Hamilton was disqualified from the 2023 United States Grand Prix
  • Hamilton’s Mercedes W14 disqualification stemmed from a violation of technical regulations

In the high-speed world of Formula 1, even the smallest details can have significant consequences. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton faced the harsh reality of this truth with his disqualification from the 2023 United States Grand Prix.

In a shocking turn of events, Hamilton was disqualified from the race, turning his hopes of closing in on his Red Bull championship rival, Max Verstappen, into a distant mirage.


The specific cause of Hamilton’s Mercedes W14 disqualification was the violation of technical regulations, particularly concerning his car’s front plank. It is a piece of equipment that helps distribute the weight of the car evenly. The plank, designed to be a safety feature, was too thin, measuring just 8.9 millimetres. It fell one millimetre below the required minimum thickness of 9 millimetres.

lewis hamilton 2023 united states grand prix disqualification

Lewis Hamilton. Photo/Dailu Sabbah

The FIA, the governing body of Formula 1, enforces these regulations to ensure that all competing cars are on a level playing field. The thickness of the plank is not merely a matter of rules; it’s a matter of safety. The plank is engineered to break upon collision, thus safeguarding the driver. In Hamilton’s case, a worn plank could potentially increase the risk to the driver, which is why the FIA takes such infractions seriously.


What makes this incident even more remarkable is that Mercedes, Hamilton’s team, had prior knowledge of the problem but failed to rectify it before the race. This became a significant factor in the FIA’s ruling, indicating that Mercedes was aware of the issue but did not take the necessary corrective steps.

The consequences were swift and severe. Hamilton’s second-place finish in the race was stripped away, and he was slapped with a 10,000 euro fine. The disqualification from the 2023 United States Grand Prix left the entire racing world in disbelief, and it had immediate repercussions for his championship aspirations.

Before the disqualification, Hamilton was 11 points behind Verstappen in the championship standings. If he had maintained his second-place finish, he would have managed to reduce the gap to just eight points, setting the stage for a thrilling championship battle. However, the disqualification transformed his ninth-place finish into a loss of 10 valuable points to Verstappen, further widening the gap.


The disqualification was not just a blow to Hamilton’s championship hopes; it also took a toll on his morale. Hamilton was in excellent form in the lead-up to the race, confident of challenging Verstappen for victory. The sudden turn of events was a severe setback to both his title quest and the confidence that he and his team had built over the course of the weekend.

Mercedes W14

The new Mercedes W14. Photo/PlanetF1

Despite the disappointment, he remained gracious in his response. In the post-race debrief with Mercedes, he emphasized the progress the team had made throughout the weekend. His car was fitted with a new floor, which had a noticeable impact on his performance during the race.

Hamilton acknowledged that he had felt the effects of the new floor and was in the mix for the race win. He chased down Verstappen, contributing to an enthralling battle for victory. However, the disqualification shattered the dream.

Mercedes’ team principal, Toto Wolff, said that the disqualification was primarily due to a setup issue. He admitted that they had made the wrong choices in setting up the car, especially given the bumpy nature of the Circuit of The Americas. Set-up choices can be challenging during a Sprint weekend, and on this occasion, Mercedes got it wrong.


Despite the disappointment, both Hamilton and Wolff found solace in the positives that emerged from their performance at COTA. The progress made with the new floor, Hamilton’s competitive form, and the speed demonstrated by the team are valuable takeaways as they continue to chase their championship goals.


Victories in F1 can be determined by milliseconds and technical precision resulting from the smallest deviations. Lewis Hamilton’s disqualification from the 2023 United States Grand Prix serves as a stark reminder of the unforgiving nature of the sport and the importance of meticulous attention to detail. While setbacks are a part of racing, Hamilton and his Mercedes team are determined to bounce back stronger and continue their pursuit of championship glory.

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, but an outgoing sports writer with focus on tennis, athletics, football, motorsports and NBA.

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