Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes ’embarrassed’ by United States GP disqualification, says James Allison
Mercedes technical director James Allison says the team were left “embarrassed” by Lewis Hamilton’s disqualification from the United States Grand Prix for a breach of technical regulations.
Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc were excluded from second and sixth places respectively four hours after the end of Sunday’s dramatic race after wear levels on the planks underneath their cars were found to have exceeded limits set out in F1’s regulations.
The seven-time world champion’s disqualification means that instead of closing to within 19 points of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez for second in the drivers’ standings, his deficit grew to 39 points with just four rounds of the season remaining.
Speaking in Mercedes’ post-race debrief, Allison said: “Of course the disqualification is a significant blow. 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.”
After Mercedes brought a final significant upgrade of the season to the W14, Hamilton produced a hugely impressive weekend which saw him narrowly lose out to the other Red Bull of world champion Max Verstappen for victory.
Allison said that the progress made in terms of performance will help the team get over the disappointment of the disqualification.
He added: “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 it’s hard to do that.
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 pretty sure we will stay on the right side of the skid block rules.
“The initial feeling of hurt, and disappointment and frustration of ourselves 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.”
‘We made a mistake’
Allison also gave a detailed explanation of how Mercedes fell foul of the regulations, accepting that the team had made “a mistake” by failing to leave enough margin.
“The disqualification had everything to do with the setup and the bumpiness of the track, amplified by the fact that it was a Sprint weekend,” he said.
“At a sprint weekend, you are under much more pressure, you have just a solitary hour at the very front of the weekend.