Mercedes believe the lack of practice time afforded at the United States Grand Prix due to the Sprint contributed to Lewis Hamilton’s disqualification from the race.

Hamilton mounted a large charge in the closing laps at the Circuit of the Americas to overtake Lando Norris and come within only 2.2s of usurping Max Verstappen for victory.

However, Hamilton, along with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, was disqualified after post-race checks discovered his W14 car did not comply with the regulations on plank wear.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff outlined the difficulty of optimising the set-up on a bumpy track with only one hour of practice before the cars are locked in under parc ferme.  

However, Wolff declares the side “need to take it on the chin” and learn from the error that handed a podium position to Ferrari, its nearest rival in the championship.

“Turning to the race result and the disqualification, set-up choices on a Sprint weekend are always a challenge with just one hour of free practice – and even more so at a bumpy circuit like COTA and running a new package,” Wolff explained.

“In the end, all of that doesn’t matter; others got it right where we got it wrong and there’s no wiggle room in the rules. We need to take it on the chin, do the learning, and come back stronger next weekend.”

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14. 22.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 19, United States Grand Prix, Austin, Texas, USA, Race Day.

Meanwhile, Mercedes Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin concurred with Wolff, adding that the team were “naturally very disappointed” to lose a podium place.

“Unfortunately, it is one of the pitfalls of the Sprint format where we have a solitary hour of running before parc fermé,” Shovlin said.

“Without running at a race fuel load in FP1, combined with a circuit as bumpy as this and the parts of the track where the drivers have to put the car during the Grand Prix, have contributed to the higher than expected wear levels.

“We will go away and learn from this but also take the positives from our experience as a whole.”

But Shovlin is convinced that Mercedes “can afford to be cautiously optimistic” for the remaining rounds following the positive step delivered by its upgraded floor.

“Both drivers felt the improvement and it is positive for our development trajectory for 2024,” he added. “Whilst we are disappointed with the ultimate outcome today, we can be encouraged by the pace shown.”

Hamilton was also upbeat despite losing his 10th podium at COTA, insisting the disqualification “doesn’t take away from the progress” Mercedes made in Austin.

“I feel positive as we’re moving forward, even if reflecting on it we could have possibly won today,” Hamilton concluded.

“It is of course disappointing to be disqualified post-race but that doesn’t take away from the progress we’ve made this weekend.”

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