Hamilton and Magnussen to start from pitlane

26/07/2014
NEWS STORY

Following their 'problems' during qualifying today, Lewis Hamilton and Kevin Magnussen will start tomorrow's Hungarian Grand Prix from the pitlane.

The Briton was out just moments into Q1, flames leaping from the back of his car following a fuel leak. As the Mercedes driver walked dejectedly down the pitlane towards his garage his car continued to smoulder in the background.

"I was devastated for Lewis," said team boss Toto Wolff. "The team has been working so hard to deliver the best possible car for both drivers so it is upsetting to see him suffer another problem in qualifying.

"A Mercedes in flames is not what we want to show the world," he continued, "but just as importantly, it's not the standard we set for ourselves in the team.

"I apologise to Lewis and to all his supporters for this problem which has given him another mountain to climb tomorrow. But we know that if anybody can do it, Lewis can. We will be burning the midnight oil to give him the best possible car and strategy for the race."

"I can't really believe it today," added Hamilton, "there was just nothing I could do. There was an issue with the car as I was coming out of the second to last corner and then the engine just cut out. I thought we could get it back to the garage but then I looked in my mirrors and saw the whole rear end was on fire and that was it.

"Now we need to see what damage has been done to the car tonight and see whether the gearbox or engine needs to be changed. It's getting to the point where it's beyond bad luck now - as a team, we need to do better. Tonight, I need to somehow find the way to turn this into a positive for tomorrow, then build on that going into the race. It will be a very difficult afternoon as it's one of the hardest circuits to overtake on. But these things are sent to try us and how I come out of it is going to be the most important thing."

"We are still stripping the car to understand the cause of the fuel leak but the symptom was a loss of high pressure fuel to the direct injection system of the internal combustion engine," said Paddy Lowe. "This fuel leak then caused a major conflagration which is likely to have written off most of the car.

"We will obviously be doing our very best to give Lewis the car and the strategy necessary to make the best possible recovery in the race tomorrow," he added

Magnussen was simply caught out by the sudden change in the conditions at the start of Q3. Moments after Nico Rosberg had run wide in T1, caught out by the suddenly damp track, Magnussen, without the benefit of warning yellow flags, also went off but went straight into the barriers.

"The track conditions at that particular corner took everyone by surprise," said Eric Boullier, "and Kevin was powerless to avoid locking the wheels and hitting the wall. Of course, the good news is that he's safe and well; the bad news is that his chassis and gearbox are quite significantly damaged, and both will need to be changed this evening.

"As a result, he'll unfortunately have to start the race from the pitlane," he added. "However, I know that Kevin will not deter Kevin from pushing all the way to the finish tomorrow."

"I just hit the wall," said the Dane. "The track was much wetter at the first corner than it was at the last corner. As I came out of the final turn, there was full grip, so I braked for Turn One at the normal braking point, but it was much wetter.

"Physically, I'm fine," he added, "but I'm sad that I didn't get more out of it. I'm most disappointed for the team, I think we could've got another decent qualifying result. Now, we just need to get on with it - starting from the pitlane will make life more difficult, but I'm determined to have a strong race. I'm just very disappointed to have made that mistake."

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Chris Balfe

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Published: 26/07/2014
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