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Wolff rues Mercedes blunder before Hamilton disqualification

Wolff rues Mercedes blunder before Hamilton disqualification

F1 News

Wolff rues Mercedes blunder before Hamilton disqualification

Wolff rues Mercedes blunder before Hamilton disqualification

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff acknowledged that a strategic decision by the team cost Lewis Hamilton a potential victory at the United States Grand Prix - before the seven-time world champion was disqualified from the race.

Hamilton trailed Max Verstappen by just two seconds at the Circuit of the Americas and was rapidly closing the gap in the final laps.

Initially, Mercedes held the advantage in terms of track position over Red Bull but failed to respond to Verstappen's undercut manoeuvre on the 17th lap.

There appeared to be a lack of certainty within the Mercedes team over committing to a one or two-stop strategy, which ultimately led to a delay in their pit stop.

As a result, Hamilton re-entered the race six seconds adrift of Verstappen and struggled to close the gap until the latter stages of the race, when they made a switch to the medium tyres.

Toto Wolff believes Lewis Hamilton could have won the United States Grand Prix had it not been for a strategic error
Lewis Hamilton was unable to catch Max Verstappen despite significantly closing the gap
Max Verstappen got past Lewis Hamilton on lap 17 and went on to secure his 50th race victory in F1

Wolff: Pit strategy lost us the race

"Hindsight is a tough thing because you can see if we covered Max we had the quicker car at that stage but we didn't know," Wolff told Sky Sports F1.

"Dragging out to a one-stop was a valid thing at that stage but we lost so much time over two laps. That's what lost the race.

"We were on Lap 19 or 20 and we needed to extend it until Lap 23 to make the one-stop stick. He stops, Max stops for a clear two-stop and we knew we just needed four more laps to go with a one-stop. He was 20 seconds behind us and then the tyre just dropped and we lost the gap.

"George was also left in no man's land. Just frustrating. Everything went a bit against us. Tough fighting with Ricciardo, who came out on the softs and did the quickest lap and a feisty Norris. But that's how it goes."

Hamilton and Leclerc disqualified

FIA regulations dictate that any car with a skid block displaying wear exceeding 1mm will result in the driver's disqualification.

"A physical floor and a plank wear inspection was carried out on car numbers 16 [Leclerc] and 44 [Hamilton]," an FIA statement read.

"The skids are found not to be in compliance with Article 3.5.9e) of the Formula One Technical Regulations."

The stewards found Hamilton and Leclerc to be in breach of the rules and subsequently decided to disqualify them from the race.

As a result, Lando Norris was elevated to second place and Carlos Sainz moved up to third, securing the final spot on the podium.

Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc were disqualified from the United States Grand Prix hours after the race had finished

READ MORE: Verstappen FUMES at Red Bull over incredible radio exchange

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