• Spanish Grand Prix

Stewards investigate Hamilton after he stopped on track

ESPNF1 Staff
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Lewis Hamilton had to return to the pits in a course car © Sutton Images
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Lewis Hamilton and McLaren are facing a stewards' investigation after he stopped on track following his pole position lap at the Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday, which could see him lose pole position.

Under the regulations drivers are required to return to the pits after setting their time with at least 1 litre of fuel left in the tank for a fuel sample. The only circumstance in which a driver can avoid a penalty is if the car stopped on track for reasons of force majeure.

McLaren has said Hamilton stopped on track because of a technical issue and will argue that that means he should keep his pole position.

"There was a technical problem that led to that situation," Martin Whitmarsh told media on Saturday evening. "I would obviously believe that is force majeure, but it's up to the stewards to decide."

He added: "There was enough fuel to take a fuel sample but we stopped the car and we're now talking to the stewards about that. There was 1.3 litres of fuel taken out of the car."

Asked if McLaren would have to show that they would have been able to make it back to the pits and still present a fuel sample, Whitmarsh said: "I think the regulations are that you had to do that lap unless there's a force majeure and I think that's the discussion that will probably happen."

Whitmarsh would not reveal the technical problem ahead of the team's meeting with the stewards, but said it did not impede the performance of the car.

Asked if he'd felt any issues with the car, Hamilton added: "No I didn't. The lap was fantastic for me. The team came on the radio to say I had to stop the car because of a technical problem. Then I stopped, but I was so excited about the car I didn't even think about it."

McLaren is expecting a ruling on the decision tonight and potential penalties could include a five-place grid penalty or the deletion of Hamilton's best time. Either penalty would drop him to sixth place on the grid.

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