Hamilton forced out by gearbox issue

Lewis Hamilton was disappointed to retire from the 2010 Hungarian Grand Prix, after a gearbox failure saw the Brit lose his lead in the drivers’ standings.

The 28-year-old had been running fourth when the issue struck, forcing him to pull off to the side of the track and see his rivals take full advantage.

Prior to the start of the race, Hamilton had reported a potential brake issue on his MP4-25. However, further inspection failed to uncover any issues and the McLaren driver took the start as scheduled.

However, it is now believed that such vibrations were actually the start of Hamilton’s technical problems.

Meanwhile Jenson Button managed to claw his way into a points-placed finish in eighth.

Jenson Button – 8th: “The weekend started really well: we showed good pace in free practice and I was looking forward to qualifying. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out, and I started 11th on the grid.

“I got a good start off the line, but I went four abreast into Turn One, and got stuck on the outside, losing about four or five places.

“So, from that position, finishing eighth wasn’t too bad. I lost a lot of points, and for the team to take home only four points today is disappointing, but there isn’t a very big points gap covering the top four drivers – I’m only 14 points behind the championship leader, after all so it’s still all to play for.

“It’s been a tough weekend, but we’ll come back fighting. We’re a very positive and strong team, and we’ve been in difficult situations before, so we can definitely jump back from this hopefully as soon as Spa-Francorchamps at the end of this month.”

Lewis Hamilton – DNF: “I was accelerating out of Turn One when I felt a sudden vibration and then a loss of drive. I initially thought it was a driveshaft failure, but it now appears that it was a gearbox problem.

“Actually, I may have had an issue with the gearbox from the very beginning of the race, when I initially feared I had a brake-related vibration. Whatever, it’s a bit of a shame because, as always, the guys had worked very, very hard all weekend, and I think we’d done more than enough in the race to get up to the front and score some decent points.

“It’s a pity to have a fault at this stage in the year, but that’s racing when you push the car to the limit, these things can happen.

“We’ll learn from this, though, and we’ll just have to work even harder to make sure we don’t have any further problems this year, and that we can catch back up to the front-runners which I’m certain we’ll be able to do.”

Martin Whitmarsh – Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: “Obviously, we’re disappointed with our haul of world championship points here in Hungary, but we remain in hot contention for the drivers’ world championship and the constructors’ world championship, and it’s all still to play for in the last seven grands prix of the season.

“Lewis made a decent start this afternoon, but then got squeezed into Turn One and dropped a place. He then did really well to pass Vitaly [Petrov] on lap two, and the boys then pulled off a really slick pit stop to get him ahead of Felipe [Massa], too. As the race unfolded, it became clear that, had he not suffered a gearbox failure, Lewis would probably have finished third. So that’s very frustrating.

“Jenson made a good start but then got boxed in at Turn One and also lost time avoiding Michael [Schumacher] as he [Schumacher] ran wide and then rejoined the track. But, from 15th at the end of lap one, Jenson then drove patiently and determinedly all afternoon, slogging his way to four world championship points as a result.

“After the summer shutdown, we’ll come back fully refreshed and utterly determined to apply ourselves as hard as is humanly possible to take world championship honours this season. We’ve got lots of good people, we’ve got lots of good ideas, and we’re prepared to do lots of work. We always knew that this year’s world championship was going to be a tough battle, but we’re up for that tough battle so bring it on!”

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