• Japanese Grand Prix - Qualifying

Hamilton handed five place grid penalty for gearbox change

ESPNF1 Staff
October 9, 2010 « Hamilton shocked by Saturday conditions | »
Lewis Hamilton's title chances have taken another blow © Sutton Images

Lewis Hamilton's championship chances have been dealt a further blow after the McLaren driver was handed a five place grid penalty for the team changing his gearbox.

The McLaren driver learned he will be demoted down the starting order after Sunday morning's qualifying session after his team confirmed it detected "abnormal gearbox oil pressure" on his MP4-25 during Saturday's limited practice session.

"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," said a McLaren spokesman.

"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."

The news will come as a big disappointment to Hamilton, who has managed only six timed laps so far this weekend and is a full 20 points behind Mark Webber in the drivers' standings.