A late spin from Lewis Hamilton left him fourth on the grid for the Abu Dhabi GP
Broken wishbone puts Mercedes driver into a qualy spin
By Mike Wise. Last Updated: 04/11/13 8:21am
"It just snapped out," was how Lewis Hamilton described a qualifying spin which has left him fourth on the grid for Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver was looking to improve during the closing moments of Q3 when he ran wide exiting the Turn 11, 12 and 13 chicane at the Yas Marina circuit. Hamilton fought to control his car over the kerbs but it spun and then stopped, leaving him stranded as the session ended.
Hamilton blamed the car rather than himself for the spin and Mercedes clearly agree. "We can now confirm that a right-rear wishbone failed on Lewis' car. We hope to repair the damage under parc ferme," they later tweeted.
Speaking immediately after qualifying, Hamilton told Sky Sports F1: "For some reason, something gave way on the right side of the car. I was going through the chicane, I got on the power and all of a sudden it just snapped out. And then I tried to pull away and it wouldn't move, so something's busted."
Hamilton lines up behind team-mate Nico Rosberg and Red Bull pair Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel after a late burst from the Australian allowed him to pip the World Champion to pole.
Mercedes had earlier seemed able to mount a challenge for the front row, with Rosberg and Hamilton first and second fastest in Q2.
Asked about his prospects in Sunday's race, Hamilton said that a good start would be crucial.
"This is a very difficult circuit to overtake, so being at the front means everything here. But hopefully we can get a good start like we did in Japan and maybe we can challenge for some positions," he added.
"I'm just grateful that at least I didn't drop down too far."
Team Principal Ross Brawn later confirmed that Hamilton's spin came as a result of a wishbone failure and also said he was looking good to improve his time.
"He was well up on his best time to that point - enough for us to start getting a little excited on the pit wall - when the car spun," Brawn said.
"We will never know how that lap could have panned out but we were certainly closer on ultimate performance than we have been in a while."
Looking forward to the race, Brawn added: "We were not particularly happy with the car on our long runs yesterday, but the drivers and their engineers did a great job overnight to make some changes and improve the situation.
"The track has also changed significantly, so we will have to see how things turn out."