Hamilton stripped of pole, sent to back

Saturday 12-May-2012 19:12

Lewis Hamilton has been stripped of his Spanish GP pole after being excluded from qualifying for not returning to parc ferme.

The McLaren driver claimed a blisteringly quick pole position around the Circuit de Catalunya on Saturday but, five hours later, found himself at the very back of the grid.

Hamilton failed to return to parc ferme after qualifying when he stopped out on track with an undisclosed problem.

And although McLaren initially stated that everything would be okay, they were soon a very worried team after Hamilton was called into the stewards' office.

Under F1 regulations, drivers must return to parc ferme under their own power with a minimum of one-litre of fuel on board.

It is not acceptable for them to stop to save petrol for the sample as that would give them a competitive advantage, permitting them to run with less fuel, and hence less weight, in qualifying.

However, after qualifying it was found that Hamilton's car had ony 1.3 litres, which would not have been enough for him to return to the pits and give fuel for the test.

McLaren blamed the shortage on a fuel-rig fault, however, the stewards felt it was not a good enough excuse.

As a result, they have sent Hamilton to the back of the grid.

"The stewards received a report from the Race Director which stated that during post-qualifying scrutineering a sample of fuel was required from car 4, however, the car failed to return to the pits under its own power as required under Article 6.6.2 of the FIA Formula One Technical Regulations," said the stewards in a statement.

"The Stewards heard from the team representative Mr Sam Michael who stated that the car stopped on the circuit for reasons of force majeure. 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.

"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."

Pastor Maldonado will therefore start the race from pole position with Fernando Alonso on the front row.

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