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Hamilton: Many cars that hadn't been tested were also illegal

Hamilton: Many cars that hadn’t been tested were also illegal

Hamilton: Many cars that hadn't been tested were also illegal

Lewis Hamilton claimed on Thursday that more cars than his Mercedes and Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari were illegal at the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin and called for a fairer system of post-race checks.

The seven-time Formula 1 World Champion was stripped of second place, and Leclerc from sixth, for excessive wear to the car’s mandatory under-floor ‘plank’ in last Sunday’s race.

Both teams accepted their punishment and blamed the sprint format, with only one practice session, and particularly bumpy track.

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Only four of the 15 cars that finished the race were checked for such a breach, however.

The cars of both Mercedes’ George Russell and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who benefited from their teammates’ exclusion by moving up to fifth and third respectively, were not checked.

“I have heard from different sources that there were many cars that had not been tested and were also illegal,” Hamilton told reporters ahead of this weekend’s race in Mexico City.

“I have been racing here for 16 years and there have been many other scenarios where some got away with things and others were unlucky to get tested,” he added.

“For me there has to be some kind of better structure in terms of making sure it is fair and even across the board,” Hamilton insisted.

FIA insists system has been around for decades

The governing FIA said in an explanatory note that a number of cars are randomly selected for checks on different areas after the race.

Given the time constraints of packing up for back-to-back races with tight freight deadlines it is impossible to check every car for the same potential breaches, it added. The FIA pointed out that the process has been in place for many decades.

Red Bull’s triple F1 World Champion Max Verstappen, whose car passed the plank test, blamed the Sprint format used in Austin for the problem because teams had only one practice session to set the ride height of their cars.

“The only thing is that if you check one car of a team and it is illegal, you have to check the other one as well, because normally they always carry very similar set-ups,” said the Dutch driver.

McLaren’s Lando Norris, promoted to second after his car was tested and found to be legal, agreed that one car failing should require the other also to be tested.

“It’s unlikely two cars (from the same team) are that different, so if one car is illegal, there is a high chance that the other car is,” said the Briton. (Writing by Alan Baldwin)