For someone who was on top of cloud 9 having found the sweet spot with his car and finishing half a second faster than Maldonado, the news must definitely a blow. It is reported that the car was short of around 1.7 litres of fuel, a weight difference of give or take 1.5 kilograms.
The car was discovered to have had just 1.3 litres of fuel on board after it was craned back to the pits which is an insufficient amount for the MP4-27 to have completed the lap and then provided the stewards a mandatory one-litre fuel sample.
McLaren did try to argue that the the half second lead meant the result was not influenced by the underweight car, and that this was a case of ‘force majeure’ as a team member had failed to put in sufficient fuel and that it wasn’t a conscious decision. The stewards weren’t buying any of it.
‘The Stewards determine that this is a breach of Article 6.6.2 of the FIA Formula One Technical Regulations and the Competitor is accordingly excluded from the results of the Qualifying Session. The Competitor is however allowed to start the race from the back of the grid.’ was the verdict. A harsh one, says Martin Brundle who argues the stewards could have just deleted that particular lap, which would’ve left Hamilton sixth on the grid.
Jenson Button who managed only the 11 fastest time, said his MP4-27 was suffering from understeer at high speed and a nervous rear end in the slow-speed corners.
This incident does raise the question of how much longer the loyalty the Lewis Hamilton has for McLaren will last. While the long relationship does mean a lot to the Briton, he is undoubtedly a very competitive person and wants to win, above all else. We wonder..
Head over to SkySports for the full story as well as a video.