Hamilton gets five-place grid penalty

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Lewis Hamilton will take a five-place gird penalty at Suzuka, once the starting order for the race has been decided.

Hamilton will have to change his gearbox before tomorrow’s delayed qualifying session, resulting in the penalty, meaning he will definitely start no higher than sixth.

Drivers are allowed to change their gearboxes every four races without a penalty. Hamilton last changed his gearbox at Spa.

McLaren are still deciding whether or not to run their new rear wing tomorrow.

Update: More from McLaren:

In P3 today, we noticed abnormal gearbox oil pressure on Lewis’s car, which we believed we had corrected ahead of this afternoon’s qualifying session.

This afternoon, as we fired up Lewis’s car several times in preparation for qualifying, we became aware that the symptoms were worse than we’d originally diagnosed, and a decision was later taken to change the gearbox ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying session and the grand prix.

As a result, Lewis will receive a five-place grid penalty for tomorrow’s race.

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    121 comments on “Hamilton gets five-place grid penalty”

    1. Is this because of the crash?! If so it seemed to damage only the front of the car to me…

      1. They generally don’t use their race engine or gearbox on Friday, so you’d have to doubt it.

      2. Teams aren’t required to use gearboxes from their restricted allocation in first and second practice, so I doubt it very much.

        1. Got some more from McLaren, have updated the story above.

        1. Yes that left rear is a bit wonky.

        2. That is a bit wonky Alex Bkk, I’ll email McLaren, my mate owns a garage and can sort out the camber for them.


      3. They’re apparently now reporting that the damage is from the crash in Singapore… Seems like they should have thoroughly examined everything under a microscope after a crash like that.

    2. poor hamilton, his bad luck continue

      1. He was quite lucky earlier on in the season, especially with inheriting the win in Turkey and benefiting from a few important stewards’ calls. So maybe this is just his fortune balancing out – it often does over the course of a season.

      2. Its not just bad luck, I’m always suspicious when it come to to stuff going wrong on Lewis’ car. How many car failures has he had in comparison to his team mate.

        There is obviously something wrong with the way his equipment gets treated at Mclaren.

        Lewis has made every team mate he had look ordinary and has out driven every second rate car McLaren produced.

        Of course most ppl hear will say ‘ oh hear we go again, another Ham fan screaming racism’

        Whatever, WE KNOW THE SCORE..

        Is it too much to say that someone within Mclaren is being payed by Eccelstone to sabotage Lewis….nothing would surprise me about how far racists would go to prove ther superiorityy against others they deem as a threat to their sick beliefs!!! :(

        1. Is this satire?
          Assuming it isn’t, I think that it’s possible than HAM’s car suffers more mechanical problems because of how hard he drives it. The mechanical problems are the downside of being fast on track.

          1. You go on telling yourself that. People outside the UK are wise to the hatred and undermining that go Lewis’ way…its just keeps getting nastier and more subtle…DISGRACE

            Lewis Hamilton has more racing talent in his little toe than 99% of the current F1 grid!

            On a separate issue, why does the FIA do nothing about Red Bulls clearly illegal and dangerous flexible wings. We’ve had two accident because of these wings and yet the FIA does nothing!

            1. Wow, you’re an oppinionated one aren’t you! Not that I’ll hold it against you cause I am as well!

              But seriously, Hamilton’s style is far more aggresive/violent than Buttons, so things will break more often. Same thing with Vettel over Webber.

              I’ve done a little racing myself and can vouch for that one (I’m somewhat overly aggresive in style – has got me in trouble more than once).

        2. Stop with that speculation SYM, its all in your head mate.

        3. Of course most ppl hear will say ‘ oh hear we go again, another Ham fan screaming racism’

          No, you’re right SYM. Gearbox failures (what are those?) have never, ever happened in the 60 year history of the sport, but suddenly, one happens to Lewis Hamilton.

          It stinks to high heaven how badly Mclaren treat him, what with the 15 years of funding, support and race winning machinery they always give him.

          You show all the signs of someone who has watched this sport for so much longer than 3 years, and embody the true meaning of an “F1 Fanatic”.

          1. Not thats here or there, but I’ve followed the sport for over twenty five years, which would guess is way before you were able to spell F1 ;)

            1. Well, you’ve got to use any knowledge you’ve garnered to provide evidence before making claims about racism and sabotage, otherwise no-one will take you seriously ;)

        4. “Of course most ppl hear will say ‘ oh hear we go again, another Ham fan screaming racism’”

          That’s exactly what you’re doing though. It lacks any real basis and is pretty unfair of the entire Woking squad who went out on a limb and gave him a drive in the first place. I understand you’re upset and I’m sorry but you’re not providing any real evidence for your statement.

          1. “pretty unfair of the entire Woking squad who went out on a limb and gave him a drive in the first place”

            Lewis won every trophy going on his way to F1. Ron Dennis and Tag Hauer’s Mansour Ojjeh supported him in his career because they saw real talent emerging year after year; he is the outstanding racing driver of his generation.

            You make it sound as if the “Woking squad” is a charity for ethnic minorities!

            1. The “Woking Squad” (clearly) work very hard to give Lewis the best machinery possible to showcase his talent. That’s why claiming that “There is obviously something wrong with the way his equipment gets treated at Mclaren” isn’t going to go down well on a website of mostly knowledgable fans.

        5. “There is obviously something wrong with the way his equipment gets treated at Mclaren.”

          “Of course most ppl hear will say ‘ oh hear we go again, another Ham fan screaming racism’”

          Whats the weather like on your planet? How do you get racism out of Hamilton’s gearbox getting replaced? Being able to imagine that someone at McLaren is sabotaging Hamilton’s equipment is pretty good. It didn’t occur to you it’s how hard he drives his equipment (at times unnecessarily hard eg Monza 2009)

    3. You make your own luck.

      1. How? Because I’d like some…

        1. I think it was someone in Lost who said it to Hurley.. Not sure who.. Probably been said before, but that’s where I got it from.. Never made alot of sense to me either though xD Other than not runnin in to Massa, and (arguably) not race aggressive defendor Webber so hard ;)

          1. I think the saying is more connected to the other popular saying – “You will reap what you sow” but with a twist. The way I see it it means you don’t want to be a slave to the fate and sit idly because everything is predetermined in your life but you can take the matters into your hands and “make your own luck”.

            1. If I didn’t restrain my self I’d discuss how I think the future is (in effect) pre determined and that therefor luck, can only be used to describe the trend of events for any particular person/object.

              … … … But I better not….

          2. Martin Brundle has been saying ‘you make your own luck’ throughout his commentating career. To an extent it can be true if you are in a position to make certain decisions in your life.

        2. I think what is meant from the saying is that you will notice the good luck over the bad, so the more attempts you make, the more good luck you’ll get.

          Not sure whether it applies in F1 though, people don’t usually get too many chances!

        3. Think there’s an app for that Keith…

        4. Dont say that, it might be the bad variety!

        5. ha ha ha , me too.

      2. Not always!
        NOthing is absolute.

        1. Of course but it is better to try and do something to fight the circumstances then sit idly and moan about bad luck or destiny…

      3. I agree to a degree but you’ve used if out of context.

        It is a term often used in regards to sport… but it is a term used to explain the elite and when their skill / ability help them achieve what would seem impossible… i.e it seems lucky… make your own luck. NOT when something unlucky happens.

        1. Well, to clear things F1iLike used it first, I merely jumped in to try to explain the saying.

    4. And where did you get the info? There are no twitts and reports anywhere, just here.

      1. From McLaren.

    5. So is it confirm?

    6. How does FIA keep track of any gear box change ? Do they dismntle the car in the scruitneering bay ? How do they make out ?

      1. They put seals on the gearboxes. If the seal is broken or changed, they know the gearbox has been accessed or replaced.

    7. Oh my… I just read and interview on Hamilton where he said that bad things happen in threes.

      I also heard a rumor that Macca will not be running the rear new rear wing @ Suzuka.

      That is very bad news for him and Macca.

    8. paradoxally, this may actually help him finish the race and score important points. Will turn out Sunday.

      1. Either that or it may prompt him to drive even more erratic out of desperation… Hopefully for his sake he can keep a clear head and stay calm.

    9. Hell yeah! Down to 4 or 3 contenders now :D Bye bye Hamilton.

      1. This is the sentiment that i only ever see with regard to Hamilton. You obviously have a favourite driver who you think can’t beat Him. I want all 5 to stay in the fight to the bitter end.

        1. It’s the sentiment I’ve been seeing regading both Vettel and Alonso here pretty much since the season started, and much more vicious at that.

        2. Doesn’t change things a great deal, Hamilton will still be in the fight. Besides other drivers of the 5 you talk about also had reliability problems through out the year which resulted in grid penalties. e.g:


          That’s the part of the game.

      2. Hamilton will start the race in 8th or 9th position. From there he may get up to 5th or 6th, which keeps him in the title hunt. But it’s very likely he’ll be 5th in the standings after the race.

        1. Who knows, he might still get a solid podium out of it, as Hamilton is not shying away from overtakes.
          Certainly he is better off replacing the gearbox than risking another DNF.

          1. And any of the other four could just as easily have a DNF, so you really can’t write any of them off just yet.

            1. Absolutely – much better to discover this problem now than have another DNF.

              The race is still a lottery and Suzuka is a track that one can pass on.

              Not ideal… but definitely not the end to his title run…

      3. wow, bye bye Ham. or crash to the wall again!! lol

    10. that is a shame, i guess it really is a 3 horse race now

      1. I’d wait until after the race, Button could win it while Webber punts Alonso off the road and Hamilton and Vettel complete the podium…that’d open things right up again!!

        1. Doubtful, but it’d sure be great for the championship!

          1. if that happens, i’ll eat my hat adrian

            1. You call your hat ‘Adrian’? Sounds like it’ll be an emotional farewell when you eat it then..

    11. sad sad situation. What can i say? this is life! :( I think lewis should give up on the wdc and end the championship like he did last year. He sould forget about the standing and enjoy!

    12. VERY ahead of the game there Keith. Nobody else at all seemed to have picked up on this until just now (its scrolling as a headline on BBC Sport site but with no supporting story). Good job!!

      1. Thanks :-)

        1. Yes you scooped the Internet on that one :)

      2. If you look up the definition of the word, ‘fanatic’ in Wikipedia you’ll find a picture of Keith…

        … I know cos I just uploaded it there! :D

        ( jk )

    13. Fortune favours the Brave….We know he’s brave in every Condition…Lets see what happens

    14. Oh great this is so gut renching…he has to and needs to have his best race tomorrow and it also need to rain… :'(

    15. aww… hope he can have a good race tmr..

    16. Bloody hell, could this be the first step in a downward spiral of losing the championship…

      1. This certainly wouldn’t be the first step, it started at Hungary

      2. It could be the third…

        1. or the last.

          Who would be brave enough to bet against a middle field tangle that end his race.

          Maybe its just not his year.

    17. So if qalifying happens, he may best start P6 and if it doesnt, the best wud be 7th.
      I think he wud want to start 7th than 6th.

      1. If it doesn’t, Button has a fantastic advantage, starting on pole with the two Mercedes between him and all the other championship contenders.

        1. Yeah, that would really be a boon for Button. If that were to happen I think we could see a Button Vettel Hamilton podium, which would really help even out the championship again.

        2. I think the red bulls would catch up any McLaren driver though, even with a little traffic. The McLaren isn’t fast enough and over the course of a Grand Prix the Red Bull drivers will easily bridge that gap.

          I honestly believe we only have three drivers in contention for the championship now, and both the McLaren boys aren’t in it.

          Which is a shame. I hope they turn it around (as a Brit myself) but I’d be very surprised.

      2. Younger Hamilton
        9th October 2010, 17:25

        lol now i get you 7 the lucky number that will destroy every bad luck that is planned toc urse Lewis

        1. He’ll probably start 9th at best. The RBRs and Alonso ahead. With so little running he will do very well to start in the top ten.

          BTW, has anyone every qualified on pole and received a grid drop, I can’t remember anyone doing that?

          1. It almost happened to Hamilton at Montreal this year after the low fuel controversy. He’ll be hard pressed to take pole here though with such minimal running, and a different rear wing.

          2. BTW, has anyone every qualified on pole and received a grid drop, I can’t remember anyone doing that?

            I think Raikkonen at the 2005 Italian Grand Prix.

    18. Anyone think the whole ‘we start in number order’ thing is a bit silly? I think if they’re going to be diplomatic and try to be fair about it, the they should start in reverse championship order, or draw numbers out of a hat! Starting in number order means you’re being rewarded for the 2009 season, and for someone like Schumacher who wasn’t hear last year, he will get to be in third, all because of Button and Rubens, and Rubens himself will be way down

      1. I agree. Free Practice results or current WDC order would be much more fair. Not to even mention how Schumacher moaned about getting an odd number due to superstition (much good it helped him).

        1. Or even the finishing order of the last race. That’s how they used to decide the running order in qualifying when we had that silly single-lap system, so there is precedent….

        2. “Schumacher moaned about getting an odd number due to superstition”

          That I think has to be the most embarrassing thing Schumacher has ever done.

          1. I respectfully disagree with that statement. Deliberately crashing into a championship rival when you made an error which would probably take you out of the race takes the cake.

        3. Free Practise times would seem to make the most sense to me…

          …which is probably why it’s not in the FiA regulations!!

          1. Are you aware the cars are not always race legal in a Friday practice? Plus they may be underweight for various reasons. These aren’t punishable by the rules.

        4. Does anyone think Schumacher may have been aware of this obscure rule (he was always noted for his understanding of the regulations and how to bend the rules), and asked for an odd number so he’d start on the clean side of the grid if the rule were ever enacted? Maybe it’s just the conspiracy theorist in me, but stranger things have happened.

          1. I’d be far more open to the idea that he was trying to assert dominance in the team.

      2. Reverse championship order would be bloody awesome, but probably the least likely solution.

    19. His crash may have played a part & I also think the time he took to come out in FP2 was he was trying to correct the problem, but the most important thing is that he is already starting this weekend on the back foot.I hope he don’t take this pressure & makes more mistakes.

      1. How many times though have we seen drivers suffer and end up on the back foot only to come through and have one of their best races!!

        Button in Brazil last year springs to mind.

        1. Yup, everyone thought Rubens would be 10 or 8 points closer to Button and we’d be going to Abu Dhabi for a showdown. Then look what happened!

    20. What a great piece of legislation. If a driver goes off on Friday it may well result in a penalty for the race, due to repairing.

    21. Younger Hamilton
      9th October 2010, 17:13

      We’re going to need a Miracle now i cant take much of this suffering anymore

    22. How ironic!

      People were talking about Ferrari getting a grid drop due using too many engines and then Hamilton gets one for a gearbox change.

      You can almost see it coming, ‘no grid drops for RBR or Ferrari before the end of the session’.

      Maybe it was, maybe is wasn’t due to the crash but either way its another mechanical issue for Mclaren, not a good record is it?

    23. the end for Hamilton’s WDC hopes, mcalren and hamilton have never been the quickest car this season and in their quest to win they have pushed far too much. the best he will qualify is around 8th now with the grid penalty, sadly can see another DNF for him again, hope i’m proved wrong and he heads the field come the chequred flag…

      1. mcalren and hamilton have never been the quickest car this season

        Canada? Spa? Turkey? Arguably Monza though we never got to see Hamilton’s race pace there.

        1. In canada alonso was faster but got caught up by the backmarkers, in turkey the redbull were faster but crashed and in monza alonso was clearly faster than button.

    24. there are still 3 races after tomorrow, and even so, who knows what will happen in Suzuka!

      1. If it’s going to be a wet race, I don’t think a 5 grid penalty is that important.

    25. Hamilton doesn’t like to drive under so much pressure (penalty, championship standing). First section is rough so maybe we will se some great fight between championship contenders tomorrow. Whatever happens, I’m still rooting for Button. His soft driving style might be good on this track. Others should have problems with maintaining tires in good condition. He might make few more laps at top speed with other struggling with graining.

      1. You say:
        Button. His soft driving style might be good on this track. Others should have problems with maintaining tires in good condition. He might make few more laps at top speed with other struggling with graining.

        I add, Alonso too ;-)

      2. I don’t know if you’ll see this, but I love Pooch Café (your avatar)!

        I agree about Button. If they have a free choice of tyre for the race (say if it rains a little in Q3 but then stops) then he might go for something different and win that way.

    26. In the case that tomorrow qualy won’t make and starting grid will be write on number orders Halmiton ‘ll start from sixth position ?

      1. No, last, he’s got a penalty

        1. If they use car numbers, he’ll start seventh.

    27. Staying up till 3am has lost some of its appeal.
      Keith, how about an article for Super Sunday, F1, MotoGP an a full race program from Brands Hatch on ITV4 its Petrol Head Heaven.

    28. Oh my God!!! Hamilton just can’t get a break these days! *sigh* I think all I can hope for now at this point is that he doesn’t crash again and he can finish ahead of Button on points this year.

    29. oops, more reasons to put himself under more pressure and over cook his chances again like the past two races. That is the price you pay for not appreciating what you have now, because you will always be chasing something that don’t belong to you until you get slapped!

    30. Mr. Zing Zang
      9th October 2010, 20:09

      If it rains in the Race Hamilton will win. He has no fear and nothing to loose he can attack with full aggression. My only worry is other people crashing into him.

    31. The Last Pope
      9th October 2010, 20:12

      Don’t forget grid position isn’t so important here. I think we will see plenty of early overtaking by Lewis and he will be up with the other championship contenders before long. He just needs to take sure he survives the 1st lap.

    32. Wow. That’s a shame. Looking at what has already happened in regards to the weather, I suppose anything can happen, We could be in for a few shocks tomorrow both in qualifying and the race!

      It does mean Button can step up to the plate for Mclaren now, tomorrow. If he knows he’s ahead or has an advantage I think that’s when Jenson performs the best. Good luck to both of them, it’s gonna be a pivotal weekend for the team.

    33. Formula 1 isn’t so much fun when you are supporting a driver and said driver is just not getting the breaks. There is a limit to being gutted week after week after week after we…..

      1. It`s always darkest before the dawn.

      2. i agree….Somethin good just has to happen out of this. Or ill start believing alonso visited a witch doctor…

      3. Yeah. In times like these I half-expect him to crash when he navigates a corner. :(

    34. Boo, hiss. But that’s how things go. Although maybe McLaren could just pay $100,000 (or $500,000 I guess) to make it better.

      1. Ha. Had to laugh… ;)

    35. Ok someone must be doing voodoo on the poor fellow. How unlucky can you get?

    36. It looks like we are in for a dry Q.

      MikeGascoyne Mike Gascoyne
      Morning from a sunny and warm pitlane, track drying up very quickly and no chance of any more rain

      redbullf1spy Red Bull F1 Spy
      Ahead of the longest day (ever) the sun is shining…

      InsideFerrari Scuderia Ferrari
      The sun is shining on Suzuka!

    37. Man, this championship is driving me insane. Its 2h08 AM and i am up waiting for qualifying all in the hope Hamilton will qualify quite high to soften the 5 grid penalty and i will be off to bed hopefully i will be able to get 3 hours sleep before the race start.

      Go Lewis!!

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