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McLaren team Principal Whitmarsh admits he was wrong and embarrassed



Hamilton stops out on the track after
finishing P1 during qualifying for the Spanish GP

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh admitted his own mistake in Spanish Grand Prix qualifying final lap. Whitmarsh was wrong to permit Lewis Hamilton to complete his final qualifying lap; the consequences come out, Hamilton being disqualified from the pole position.

The costly mistake in the McLaren garage previous to Hamilton’s final run in Q3 meant that the British driver did not have enough fuel to be able to complete an in-lap and give a mandatory sample for the FIA.

“With hindsight I was wrong, but I don’t think I or very many people anticipated that, as a consequence, we would be starting from the back of the grid,” said Whitmarsh. With hindsight I could have called it a different way, and he could have just come in at the end of the out lap. But frankly I did not expect the penalty that he received.”

“Part way through that last qualifying lap, the data indicated that there was not as much fuel on board as we thought,” he said.

“We knew there is a black and white regulation that says you have to be able to give a litre [sample] at the end, so I took a call which was: right, that is a black and white regulation, there is no negotiation, let’s make sure we can comply.

“We stopped the car and pumped out 1.3 litres as it turned out, but we didn’t know that until several hours later. It could have been three litres and I would have been moderately embarrassed. Whatever the outcome I was going to be embarrassed.”

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