Top F1 driver Lewis Hamilton loses leading position in Spanish Grand Prix due to fuelling fiasco

Tuesday 15 May 2012, 11:55 AM by

Ace F1 racer Lewis Hamilton was stripped of his leading position and had to start the Spanish Grand Prix held on 13th May 2012 from the back of the grid because his team broke technical regulations concerning fuelling.

The 2008 World champion was asked to stop on track by his team because of an unknown 'technical problem', when he was on his in-lap and looked certain to grab his third pole in five races and the 150th of McLaren. McLaren was later found to have an inadequate quantity of fuel in the car needed to reach the pits and still give the FIA requisite one litre of fuel.

Debating that a team member had defaulted in fuelling the car to the required quantity, Sam Michael, Sporting Director, McLaren tried to claim 'force majeure'. However, the stewards rejected the argument and decided to exclude the driver from the qualifying race. Later on, a statement was issued, stating, "The competitor is, however, allowed to start the race from the back of the grid."

"We accept the stewards did not agree with our interpretation of force majeure. Our aim is now to maximise the points we can score tomorrow," said a McLaren spokesperson.

The rumours concerning Lewis Hamilton's career at McLaren may come to an end with this huge error since he is in the last year of his five-year-long assignment. Speculation was rife last season that he may relocate from the team which spotted his talent when he was only 13 years old. Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that Red Bull's Mark Webber, Mercedes Benz's Michael Schumacher and Ferrari's Felipe Massa are all in the final year of their contracts, hence increasing the chances of a major shuffle.

These rumours had come to a halt this year as McLaren built a front running car for the 2012 season. However, the excellent qualifying performances by Hamilton failed to translate into race wins, mostly when he was not to be blamed. In Melbourne, he was released from a pit stop at the wrong time, while he had to go down five places on the grid in China due to a change of gearbox in the preceding Malaysian Grand Prix. Latest in the series are two fatal pit stops in Bahrain, which curbed his chances of gaining the points.

Unaware of the steward's inquiry, Hamilton quoted, "Of course I'll give it my all, and we'll give it our all, and I hope with our improved pit stops as well we can make steps forward. Overtaking here is very tough, as we've seen in previous years, but we have the DRS so I would hope we can overtake."

The entire episode at the Spanish Grand Prix maintained the rhythm from earlier mishaps further solidifying the belief that spectators are never bored in F1 today. The debacle faced by the Hamilton was to Team William's advantage. Pastor Maldonado, William's racer, has grabbed the pole and the leading position on Sunday's race, since most of the leading drivers faced a glitch. Many believe him to be a 'pay driver' as his place on the grid is sponsored by Venezuelan oil company PDVSA, which shelled out a whopping 29.4 million pounds for him. While talking about starting the race at pole position, Maldonado commented, "It's a great moment for the team and for me."

Jenson Button, another elite driver from Team Mclaren, could not even make it to the final shoot out involving the 10 fastest drivers. He complained of understeer and imbalance in his MP4-27 car. Placed just ahead of team Red Bull's Mark Webber, Button will start on the 10th position. Tyres have played an important role this season; two times world champion Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher were even indifferent to setting a time in Q3.

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