BARCELONA, Spain — Lewis Hamilton lost a pole position over a rules breach on Saturday, giving Pastor Maldonado first place on the starting grid for what is shaping up to be another unpredictable Spanish Grand Prix.
Hamilton left it to his final flying lap to edge his Williams rival by more than half a second for what appeared to be his third pole of the season and McLaren’s 150th overall.
But McLaren ordered the British driver to stop his car after crossing the line because of a technical glitch, with the team subsequently claiming their driver had insufficient fuel to return to the pits.
Governing body FIA ruled that “as the amount of the fuel put into its car is under complete control of (McLaren) the stewards cannot accept this” and Hamilton was “excluded” from qualifying results, allowed to start from last place instead.
“We told him to stop because we knew there was a problem,” said team principal Martin Whitmarsh, who claimed earlier that Hamilton had enough fuel left in the car for the mandatory sample. The rule was implemented following a similar problem with Hamilton’s car at the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix.
EAGER FOR REDEMPTION: JR Hildebrand is eager to get a second chance at the Indianapolis 500.
After living with the memory and countless replays of the last lap crash that cost him a victory in IndyCar’s biggest race in 2011, Indy’s hard-luck runner-up finally got a chance to put some of those thoughts aside Saturday when practice opened for this year’s race.
Not surprisingly, the California native was one of the first drivers to put his car on pit lane and quickly got his car up to speed with a fast lap of 217.096 mph after just 10 laps.