Lewis Hamilton’s wretched Japanese Grand Prix weekend – and his already faltering 2010 championship hopes – took a further hit today with confirmation that he will be demoted five places on the grid for a gearbox change.
The McLaren driver – who has retired from each of the last two events after collisions with other drivers – suffered a practice crash in the opening Friday practice session, and has managed barely any mileage at the Suzuka circuit this weekend.
“In P3 today, we noticed abnormal gearbox oil pressure on Lewis’s car, which we believed we had corrected ahead of this afternoon’s qualifying session,” a McLaren spokesperson said.
“This afternoon, as we fired up Lewis’s car several times in preparation for qualifying, we became aware that the symptoms were worse than we’d originally diagnosed, and a decision was later taken to change the gearbox ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying session and the grand prix.
“As a result, Lewis will receive a five-place grid penalty for tomorrow’s race.”
[Original image via LAT]