Hamilton stripped of pole position will start from back of grid
12 May, 2012
May 12 (F1 Media) Lewis Hamilton has been stripped of pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix after FIA stewards ruled that his on-track stoppage following his securing of the fastest time in qualifying constituted a breach of the sport’s Technical Regulations.
Hamilton claimed McLaren’s 150th pole position in the dying seconds of Q3, displacing provisional front-of-grid driver Pastor Maldonado, but was almost immediately told by his team to pull over and stop his car. Both Hamilton and his team were subsequently called before the stewards to explain why he had not been able to return his car to the pits under its own power as prescribed in article 6.6.2 of the FIA’s Technical Regulations.
According to an FIA statement: “The stewards heard from the team representative Mr Sam Michael [Sporting Director], who stated that the car stopped on the circuit for reasons of force majeure. A team member had put an insufficient quantity of fuel into the car thereby resulting in the car having to be stopped on the circuit in order to be able to provide the required amount [of fuel] for sampling purposes.”
This argument was, however, rejected by the stewards, who stated that “the amount of fuel put into the car is under the complete control of the competitor”. They then ruled that the team had breached article 6.6.2 and excluded Hamilton from the qualifying result.
Hamilton will, however, be allowed to race, though he will start from the back of the grid. The penalty means that Pastor Maldonado will take pole position for tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix. It also marks Williams’ first pole position since the Brazilian GP of 2010, claimed by Nico Hulkenberg.
Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari will move up to the front row, the Spaniard now starting his home race from second on the grid.
Hamilton said, “This is such a disappointment. Today’s qualifying session was one of the best I’ve ever driven – the whole car was just rolling so smoothly – it felt fantastic. The team had done a fantastic job to bring the updates here this weekend – so I want to say a huge thank-you to all the men and women at the MTC for working day and night to get all the new components here this weekend.
“But, on my slowing-down lap, my engineers told me to stop on the track, and I didn’t know why. Later, to hear that I’d been excluded from qualifying, was of course extremely disappointing.
“But, now, looking ahead to tomorrow, I think it’s clear that it’s going to be an incredibly tough race for us. Even so, as always, I’ll never give up and I’ll give it everything I’ve got. It would mean so much to me to get a good result here in Spain: it’s such a pleasure to come here and the support I get is amazing.
“As I always say, and as I always do, whatever grid position I start a Grand Prix from, I’ll always race my heart out.”