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Mercedes: Hamilton’s car plank had been “untouched” in practice at F1 US GP

Mercedes has revealed that Lewis Hamilton’s plank was “untouched” after opening practice at Formula 1’s United States Grand Prix – prompting it to commit to a low ride height.

Watch: Post-Race Disqualification and Upgrade Optimism | 2023 US GP Akkodis F1 Race Debrief

Hamilton was disqualified from second place at last weekend’s race at the Circuit of the Americas after post-race inspections found it had worn more than the 1mm that is allowed in the regulations.

The team was open that it had made an error in running Hamilton too low to the ground, with the bumpy track subsequently causing too much wear.

Reflecting on the error that was made, technical director James Allison has said the squad did not leave enough margin for error after feeling that things were under control after the first and only free practice session.

PLUS: The possible outcomes of Hamilton and Leclerc's Austin F1 DSQ

For its initial analysis of the plank after practice, the only running teams had before committing to set-up due to parc ferme conditions, it showed the plank was not being damaged by the bumps and kerbs.

Speaking in Mercedes’ regular post-race video review, Allison said: “Austin is a track with a very bumpy surface and therefore you are a bit more vulnerable to bumping the car on the ground. We just simply didn’t take enough margin at the end of free practice 1.

“When we had done our set-up, we checked the plank and everything all looked fine, untouched after the FP1 running. But the results of the race speak for themselves.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

“We were illegal, so clearly, we should have had our car set a little bit higher up to give ourselves a little bit more margin. It's of course a mistake, it's an understandable sort of mistake in a sprint weekend where it's so much harder to get that stuff right, especially on a bumpy track.

“But a lesson for us in the future to make sure that we take more margin especially at a track like that with all its bumps.”

Analysis: The can of worms opened by Hamilton and Leclerc’s F1 US GP disqualifications

But while Allison admitted that the squad was almost “embarrassed” to have fallen foul of a rules transgression, he said the team had taken positives from the overall performance of the upgraded W14.

“Of course, the disqualification is a significant blow,” he said. “It’s a miserable feeling. It hurts and everybody here feels it.

“Everybody is upset, embarrassed to a degree as well because we absolutely don’t like being on the wrong side of the rules and just lamenting the lost points.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, 2nd position, arrives in Parc Ferme after the Sprint

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, 2nd position, arrives in Parc Ferme after the Sprint

“Give it a day or two and that will start to wane and be replaced by the much happier feeling, which is we moved our car forward this weekend and that’s hard to do.

“But we did it and we did it by a decent amount. And with four races left in the championship, four races where I am sure we will stay on the right side of the skid block rules.

“The initial feeling [of] hurt, disappointment and frustration will pass to be replaced by the sunny optimism of knowing that the car looked bright on this upgrade package, and we’ve got four more races to show what we can do with it.”

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