By Alex Kapadia
McLaren will launch an investigation into why one of Lewis Hamilton’s tyres blew out yesterday and robbed the British racer of second place and 18 valuable points during the Spanish Grand Prix.
The former Formula One champion crashed into the wall of tyres on the penultimate lap after a suspected front-left tyre rim failed.
Clinching second place at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya could have closed the gap between Hamilton and his team-mate Jenson Button to just one point – but the tyre drama has left him 21 points adrift.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren’s team principal, said: “For Lewis, it was just one of those days. He drove brilliantly, an impressively disciplined yet excitingly combative performance.
“He posted the fastest lap of the race on his way to what would have been a richly-deserved second place had he not been forced to retire within spitting distance of the chequered flag.
“The parts will now be meticulously analysed back at the McLaren Technology Centre. Until we’ve done that we won’t be able to make any definitive statements about what we think it was that caused the problem.”
Hamilton said: “This is my third or fourth tyre blow out in my career. More than most people have in their whole lifetime.
“There was no warning, the car felt great, so it was a surprise and a very disappointing end to the race.
“Up until that point it was pretty positive. I was just cruising to the finish line and heading for some great points.
“It was looking like a great job for us, but then it’s never over until it’s over.”