Lewis Hamilton upbeat for Spanish success despite car issues
Lewis Hamilton may have stormed to a third pole of the year at the Spanish Grand Prix, but his bid for glory could be in jeopardy after a technical glitch forced him to grind to a halt.
The brilliant Brit was in a class of his own at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya, taking top spot on the grid by a massive 0.6secs ahead of Williams surprise package Pastor Maldonado and home hope Fernando Alonso of Ferrari.
His successful session, however, ended with him immediately stopping on the track - sparking concern over the seriousness of the issue ahead of today’s race. And while team boss Martin Whitmarsh did his best to play down the problem, he conceded he was in the dark as to what exactly went wrong with the MP4-27.
“A technical problem,” said Whitmarsh when asked to describe the root of the issue. “I don’t know, we’ve just going to look at that - hopefully it’s not too serious. But a problem arose and we had to turn off [the car].”
Hamilton was also at a loss to explain his car troubles, but that didn’t detract from his obvious delight in clinching his 22nd pole.
“It was a fantastic qualifying session, probably one of the best I’ve ever had,” the 27-year-old said.
“As for the race, this is one I really want to win. We’ve looked after our prime tyres, which is the better tyre for the race, and also the option.
“It’s going to be a massively tough race.”
Hamilton’s performance, though, was in stark contrast to team-mate Jenson Button, who along with Red Bull’s Mark Webber, failed to make it out of Q2, while reigning champion Sebastian Vettel could manage only the eighth fastest time.
Button, who will start from 11th today, said: “I don’t know where it went wrong. All day I’ve struggled with balance. I thought we would be reasonably competitive and at least get into Q3, but that’s not the case.
“That final run, I had a lot understeer,” he added.
“We’re out in Q2 and it doesn’t help because we don’t have any option tyres left for [the Grand Prix].”
Maldonado, meanwhile, produced a stunning performance in qualifying, going quickest in the second session before being beaten by Hamilton at the end. It was still good enough for his best qualifying display of his career to date, and the Venezuelan said: “We’ve made a good step forward for this race and now we need to keep pushing.
“There is a great atmosphere in the garage and
the factory, so a great feeling to be here, my first time in the top three.
“Hopefully it will continue like that.”