Hamilton positive despite setback

Lewis Hamilton crashes

Lewis Hamilton remained upbeat despite seeing his chances of second place in the Spanish Grand Prix ruined by a puncture on the penultimate lap.

"I was just cruising to the finish line and it was great points for me, but then I blew a tyre," said the 2008 world champion. "That’s motor-racing.

"But it was quite a good race for me. I had really good fun out there."

McLaren are set to investigate the front left section of Hamilton’s car back in their factory in Woking.

The incident left the 25-year-old’s tyre hanging from his car as Red Bull’s Mark Webber claimed victory.

"The parts will now be meticulously analysed back at the McLaren Technology Centre," said McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh.

Jenson Button

"It was a deflation. It could have been debris caught in the rim, I think that probably caused the failure, but that is speculation. It is not a straightforward puncture."

Hamilton had driven superbly to run second for most of the race, despite Red Bull’s domination of qualifying.

The Englishman passed Sebastian Vettel for second place during the pit stop period, and comfortably held off the German until his Red Bull suffered brake failure with 12 laps to go and dropped back.

He said: "It’s nice to take a step forward and split the Red Bulls, which would have been perfect for the team. But these things happen.

"I don’t know what it [the cause of the puncture] was. I guess we’ll find out, but there’s many more races to go."

Team-mate Jenson Button could only manage fifth on a disappointing weekend for McLaren.

The defending champion was left to rue dashboard and clutch problems, causing a slow pit stop which left him trailing Michael Schumacher for the rest of the race.

Button was critical of the German seven-time world champion for not allowing him to pass.

"It’s almost impossible to overtake around here and he [Schumacher] was moving round quite a bit and making sure I couldn’t get past so it’s frustrating," said Button.

"The pace of the car was really good, but it doesn’t make any difference if you cannot overtake. I was trying so hard to overtake that I damaged my tyres quite badly.

"It all came from the first pit stop really, we had a problem with the clutch dragging so the pit stop took a lot longer and as I came out I didn’t know where he was going into turn one.

"He turned in and if I didn’t back out then we would have crashed, so he didn’t give me a lot of room there. There you go, with his experience you would have thought he would know."

After qualifying in third place, Hamilton sped past Sebastian Vettel as the Red Bull driver exited the pits on lap 18 and held onto second place right up until disaster struck on the 65th circuit.

Martin Whitmarsh

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said Hamilton’s pace in splitting the Red Bulls had been "encouraging" and that his retirement was "therefore deeply frustrating".

Whitmarsh confirmed that Button’s delay in the pits had been caused by a dashboard failure which prompted his clutch to drag and his wheels to spin.

"For Jenson, it was a great drive, but he was probably hampered early on by a display failure which was no fault of the driver or the team.

"Then he got stuck behind Michael and that probably dictated his race. It’s disappointing for both drivers today and the whole team."

Button remains top of the drivers’ championship on 70 points, three clear of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who took second place on his home track.

Hamilton is joint-sixth on 49 points.

"It is not the result we wanted or deserved," said Button. "Fifth is OK, but it was not a very good race."

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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