A difficult night at Singapore for McLaren and Lewis Hamilton as the British champion was controlling the race and looked to the heading for another victory until he experienced a mechanical failure involving his gearbox. The Radio message heard on the world feed seemed to imply that the team knew about an issue on Saturday but had done all they could to remedy it prior to Sunday’s race. That isn’t the case according to race director Sam Michael and team boss Martin Whitmarsh as they told AUTOSPORT:
“No, Not before. “They [gearbox warnings] have happened a number of laps before and we have started seeing some issues a few laps before [in other races]. Sometimes it can last all race and sometimes it doesn’t, so we had a pretty clear warning.
“We had a full inspection after yesterday, and it wasn’t related to that. I can’t see any sign that it is related to that. It is extremely unlikely based on what I think the failure is in my head.” said Michael.
Whitmarsh added: “We saw the temperatures rise and we saw pressures increase and a few other phenomenon – so painfully we could see it coming for a few laps.”
Many drivers had brushed the wall and during practice, qualifying and the race but McLaren are convinced this didn’t cause the issue as Lewis himself had a wall-brushing moment as well. Regardless, the DNF is a big hit for the team who suffered a DNF in Monza two weeks ago with Jenson Button and while they seem to be the car to beat on pace, reliability is rearing its ugly head. The DNF drops Lewis to 4th in the overall championship standings.