Mechanical glitch halts Lewis return

A mechanical problem has interrupted Lewis Hamilton s test of his new McLaren MP4-24 at the Portimao circuit in southern Portugal today. The car s engine cut out in the middle of Hamilton s run, forcing the car to be towed away for examination by the team. An early supposition is that the engine s computer experienced some difficulty and shut the engine down.

A McLaren spokesman explained: “We run our engines during testing with a greater degree of precaution so it could just be that which has triggered the shutdown.”

The team have been running the car, in the hands of Pedro de la Rosa Monday and yesterday and Hamilton today, with a 2008-spec rear wing in order to increase downforce levels in the tricky conditions. As such they have posted reasonably competitive times at the circuit, outperformed only by Sebastian Buemi in his full 2008-spec Toro Rosso.

Hamilton hopes to return to the circuit this afternoon before handing the car over to team-mate Heikki Kovalainen tomorrow.