The US Grand Prix ended in a clincher with Lewis Hamilton passing the finish line a mere two seconds after rival Max Verstappen. It was further proof that Hamilton and Mercedes were well on their way to a comeback after a couple of years of trouble.
Then Hamilton’s disqualification was announced and it all came to a screeching halt.
Charles Leclerc suffered the same fate as Hamilton and was also disqualified from sixth place.
So what happened?
Hamilton was disqualified as his car was declared illegal because of the excessive wear on his underfloor skid blocks.
The skid blocks matter in an F1 race because it keeps the cars from getting too low – which may provide an aerodynamic advantage in the races.
As for Verstappen, it was a hard-won race this time with Hamilton chomping on his heels. He had started sixth but quickly overtook Russell.
Mercedes also took the strategy of stopping Hamilton for a tire change three laps later than Verstappen and for his final lap, he was only six seconds behind Norris before eventually overtaking him and ending up two seconds behind Verstappen.
Despite the disqualification, Hamilton and Mercedes ended up encouraged by their performance during the race and it has left them convinced that they have made a step forward with their car.