The pair were punished after their Mercedes and Ferrari cars fell foul of rules governing the underside of F1 cars. Hamilton had finished on the podium in second, coming home two seconds shy of race winner Max Verstappen, while pole-sitter Leclerc finished sixth.
As a result of their DSQ, Hamilton’s 18 points earned are wiped from his season’s total as are the eight points Leclerc earned, with both unlikely to appeal the decision.
And following the ruling, the pair posted a joint photo on Instagram of both sat in a weekend press conference in Austin with glum expressions.
The caption, meanwhile, simply read: “Mood.”
Hamilton and Leclerc were investigated by the stewards following a plank wear inspection in Austin. Personnel from both Mercedes and Ferrari were summoned to see the stewards and, just after 7pm local time in Austin and more than three hours after the race finished, their disqualification from the race was confirmed.
In a Mercedes press release, Hamilton stated he was simply “disappointed” with the penalty, while team boss Toto Wolff admitted “we got it wrong.”
The FIA note reveals that the cars of Verstappen and Lando Norris (who now moves up to second from third in the final classification) were also inspected, but passed the checks.
Breaches of technical checks of the car often result in disqualification, with a recent example being Hamilton from qualifying in Brazil in 2021.
Michael Schumacher was disqualified from the 1994 Belgian Grand Prix for an illegal floor, allowing Damon Hill to win the race.
In a Mercedes press release, Wolff explained how Mercedes fell foul of the rules. “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,” he said.
“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.”
The ruling meant Williams driver Logan Sargeant earned his first F1 point in bizarre circumstances at his home race.