Lewis HamiltonEnlarge Photo
Lewis Hamilton won pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix yet will start his McLaren from the rear of the field. This due to the fact that, after the three knockout rounds of qualifying were complete, the stewards found the car didn't have sufficient fuel onboard to comply with the rules, once Hamilton returned to Parc Ferme.
"A team member had put an insufficient quantity of fuel into the car, thereby resulting in the car having to be stopped on the circuit in order to be able to provide the required amount for sampling purposes,” explained the FIA in a statement. “As the amount of fuel put into the car is under the complete control of the competitor, the stewards cannot accept this as a case of force majeure.
"The Stewards determine that this is a breach of Article 6.6.2 of the FIA Formula One Technical Regulations and the Competitor is accordingly excluded from the results of the Qualifying Session. The Competitor is however allowed to start the race from the back of the grid."
"On my slowing-down lap, my engineers told me to stop on the track and I don't know why," he said. "Later, to hear that I'd been excluded from qualifying was, of course extremely disappointing. But now," Hamilton declared, "looking ahead to tomorrow, I'll give it everything I've got. As I always say - and as I always do - whatever grid position I start a Grand Prix from, I'll always race my heart out."
This incident propelled Pastor Maldonado to the front of the grid from second, a great result for the Williams-Renault team. "We have been working so hard all year to understand these tires and with the updates we have brought to this race, we have made a very good step forward," Maldonado said. "The car is very consistent and its race pace is good, so I am really looking forward to the race tomorrow."
Pleasing the Spanish fans, Fernando Alonso starts second in the Ferrari, rather than the third-place result he had on the track. "We certainly did not think we could be so high up the grid. I don't know if this is a true reflection of our car's performance but what is certain is that the new parts we have brought here have resulted in us taking a step in the right direction."
The balance of the top 10 are Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen for Lotus F1 Team Renault on the second row, while Sergio Perez (Sauber Ferrari) and Nico Rosberg of Mercedes have the third tow in hand. Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull Renault shares the fourth row with Michael Schumacher's Mercedes, the pair failing to set a time in Q3 and the fifth row belongs to the Sauber-Ferrari of Kamui Kobayashi and promotes Jenson Button's McLaren to 10th.
All this drama should make for a very interesting race on Sunday.