Lewis Hamilton’s task to battle Sergio Perez for second place in the Formula 1 world championship got a lot more challenging after the United States Grand Prix.
Sunday’s United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas was as close to a 2021 throwback Formula 1 has seen since, well, 2021 itself, with Lewis Hamilton chasing down Max Verstappen in the closing stages — and the latter doing just enough to hold off his rival.
Not since December 2021 has Hamilton stood atop the podium, and the seven-time world champion’s losing streak was extended to 41 races, a stretch which has seen the Dutchman collect 31 first place trophies.
But falling just two seconds shy of Verstappen was as close as Hamilton has come to changing that since then, and it was much needed after a disastrous weekend in Qatar.
The runner-up finish, coupled with the fifth place finish of Sergio Perez, moved Hamilton to just 19 points behind Perez for second in the driver standings.
Just four races and a sprint remaining on the 2023 Formula 1 schedule.
Hamilton started the weekend 30 points behind Perez and had taken that tally down to 27 by finishing three places ahead of him (second vs. fifth place) in Saturday’s sprint.
But heading into next weekend’s Mexico City Grand Prix at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Hamilton finds himself 39 points behind Perez.
Both the Mercedes of Hamilton and the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc were inspected after the 56-lap race around the 20-turn, 3.427-mile (5.515-kilometer) road course in Austin, Texas, and irregularities were spotted by the FIA Technical team in a plank wear inspection.
According to Formula 1, the Delegate’s Report stated that “The skids located in the area -825 ≥ XR ≥ – 1025 are found to be not in compliance with Article 3.5.9 e) of the 2023 Formula One Technical Regulations.”
Both were referred to the stewards and subsequently disqualified from the race. Hamilton’s disqualification promoted Perez to fourth place, gaining him two points while Hamilton lost 18. Leclerc had initially finished in sixth, so everybody behind him was promoted an additional spot.
Notably, the disqualifications resulted in Williams rookie Logan Sargeant moving from 12th to 10th place, netting him his first career Formula 1 point.
The Mexico City Grand Prix is set to be broadcast live on ABC from Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez starting at 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 29. Begin a free trial of FuboTV now if you have not yet had the chance to do so!