• Japanese Grand Prix

Hamilton escapes further grid penalty for blocking

ESPNF1 Staff
October 10, 2010 « Button confident about hard tyre choice | »
Lewis Hamilton will start the Japanese Grand Prix from eighth on the grid © Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton will hold onto his eighth-place grid slot after the stewards rejected Williams' claims that he held up Nico Hulkenberg during the final session of qualifying.

Hulkenberg said: "In Q3 my second lap was a bit destroyed by Hamilton, who took a massive gap, and therefore I couldn't find space, so maybe there was more in my lap. There was no point - I don't understand why he was taking such a big gap because there was no car in front of him as far as I could see. Clearly when I approached the last chicane he was backing me up a bit.

"But the bigger penalty was that I couldn't do my second lap because I was one second behind him and here you need all the downforce you can get and if you're one second behind a car it's not going to work."

However, the stewards did not consider Hamilton to be in breach of the rules and rejected Williams' protest.

Hamilton has already been given a five-place grid penalty this weekend after McLaren had to change his gearbox overnight. He set the third fastest time in Q3 but will start eighth.