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A stone is most likely to blame for Hamilton's accident

ESPNF1 Staff
May 10, 2010 « Pic takes spoils in opening round of GP2 | »
The remains of Lewis Hamilton's car © Getty Images

A stone stuck between the wheel rim and the tyre is the most likely cause for Lewis Hamilton's accident on the penultimate lap of the Spanish Grand Prix.

The shattered remains of the front-left corner of Hamilton's car is being rushed back to Woking for analysis. Almost within sight of the chequered flag, his McLaren speared into the turn three barriers after a sudden tyre failure cost him second place both in the race and in the world championship standings. Team boss Martin Whitmarsh immediately speculated that "debris" probably caused the problem, while Bridgestone said its initial impression was that "this was not caused by a tyre issue".

"We are working closely with McLaren to understand what happened," said Bridgestone's Hirohide Hamashima.

After qualifying, Rubens Barrichello took photos with his mobile phone camera of his FW32 and his helmet, so amazed was he about the damage caused by flying stones. He told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport that he had to nurse his vibrating Williams to the chequered flag after feeling a "strong shock" on the left front.

"We had to slow him down to ensure we didn't have a problem with the tyres," confirmed technical director Sam Michael. "We'll be looking into that for the next race."

Barrichello suspects a stone got stuck in the wheel rim, and a similar cause was also not being ruled out to explain Sebastian Vettel's brake problem. After the Red Bull was inspected, Christian Horner revealed that the brake disc "was a bit damaged".

"We will only know for sure in the factory," he added.

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