Hamilton excluded from qualifying, loses pole

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

12 May 2012 by Ryan Wood

Lewis Hamilton will lose his pole position for Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix after meeting with the FIA race stewards on Saturday evening.

The McLaren driver will now start at the back of the grid after being excluded for stopping on-track with insufficient fuel to make it back to the pits and to provide a sample.

The penalty hands pole to Pastor Maldonado.

The 27-year-old was told to stop his car on his in-lap after securing pole position with a 1:21.707. When he was asked why, he said he didn't know.

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh offered a little more insight, but gave no definitive answer when he was probed on the issue.

"It is a technical problem that happened in the garage that didn't impede the performance of the car in anyway, and we stopped the car when it had 1.3-litres of fuel in the car," he explained.

"There was a technical problem that led to that situation. I think it is not for me to decide [if Hamilton is penalised]; but I would believe that to be a force majeure but it is up to the stewards to decide."

The regulations state that it is unacceptable for a driver to stop after the race without a reasonable explanation, and that they musn't have done it to gain an advantage - it however doesn't mention anything about qualifying.

A statement from the FIA explained they couldn't accept McLaren's excuse that a member of the team under fuelled the car prior to Hamilton's pole lap.

"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."

Revised 2012 Spanish GP Qualifying Results:

PosDriverTeamQ1 TimeQ2 TimeQ3 Time
07. S. Vettel Red Bull 1:23.850 1:22.884 No Time
11. M. Webber Red Bull 1:23.592 1:22.977  
24. L. Hamilton McLaren - - -
10. J. Button McLaren 1:23.510 1:22.944  
17. B. Senna Williams 1:24.981
02. F. Alonso Ferrari 1:23.276 1:22.862 1:22.302
16. F. Massa Ferrari 1:23.886 1:23.444  
13. N. Hulkenberg Force India 1:23.720 1:23.177
01. P. Maldonado Williams 1:23.380 1:22.105 1:22.285
09. K. Kobayashi Sauber 1:23.386 1:22.897 No Time
05. S. Perez Sauber 1:24.261 1:22.773 1:22.533
18. V. Petrov Caterham 1:25.277

04. K. Raikkonen Lotus 1:23.406 1:22.856 1:22.487
08. M. Schumacher Mercedes 1:23.757 1:22.904 No Time
06. N. Rosberg Mercedes 1:23.370 1:22.882 1:23.005
03. R. Grosjean Lotus 1:23.248 1:22.667 1:22.424
14. J. Vergne Toro Rosso 1:24.362 1:23.265  
12. P. di Resta Force India 1:23.852 1:23.125  
22. P. de la Rosa HRT 1:27.555
15. D. Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:23.906 1:23.442  
19. H. Kovalainen Caterham 1:25.507  
20. C. Pic Marussia 1:26.582    
21. T. Glock Marussia 1:27.032    
23. N. Karthikeyan HRT 1:31.122
Q1 107% Time: 1:28.363