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McLaren and Lewis Hamilton have insisted that their Singapore gearbox problem developed during Sunday’s race, contrary to some reports that it already had an issue in qualifying. Almost two fifths of the way through, the McLaren parked up at Turn 5.
From pole position, Hamilton was leading Sebastian Vettel by two seconds when he suddenly lost drive under braking for the first corner. As a team radio message – broadcast to television viewers – suggested that McLaren had done ‘all we could’, it transpires that this was since the problem began to kick in during the race, as opposed to in qualifying.
“We have this thing in our car which, when you shift, has a seamless gearshift,” Hamilton explained to Sky Sports. “It’s such a smooth gear change. Eventually I lost those shifts and it basically then comes as quite an aggressive shift. So I told the team, ‘I’ve lost my e-shifts’ and they said that I should be able to see it to the end of the race. Then I lost third gear and all of the gears went, so it was a gearbox failure for sure.
“I was (hugely disappointed) when I got out of the car, but that’s motor racing and (pause) you know, we had the pace this weekend and it was quite easy in the position we’re in. So I think it would have been (smiles) a nice result for us but, nonetheless, we’ve still got more races to go. We really couldn’t afford today, but it is what it is. The good thing is that we have the pace and so I’ve got to go and try and win the next few races.”
Hamilton has now dropped from second to fourth in the Drivers’ Championship, behind Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen. He sits 52 points behind leader Fernando Alonso.
GPUpdate TV video:
Lewis Hamilton interviewed in Singapore
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