- Spanish Grand Prix
Hamilton vows to race his heart out following penalty
Lewis Hamilton has vowed to race his heart out at the Spanish Grand Prix despite being demoted from pole position to the back of the grid on Saturday night.
Hamilton was penalised by the stewards after it emerged his car did not have enough fuel to return to the pits and provide a fuel sample. McLaren told him to stop on track in order to leave enough fuel for a sample in the tank, but the rules say the car has to make it back to the pits under its own power and the FIA did not accept McLaren's argument that it stopped for reasons of force majeure due to a refuelling error in the garage.
"This is such a disappointment. Today's qualifying session was one of the best I've ever driven - the whole car was just rolling so smoothly - it felt fantastic. The team had done a fantastic job to bring the updates here this weekend - so I want to say a huge thank you to all the men and women at the MTC for working day and night to get all the new components here this weekend.
"But, on my slowing-down lap, my engineers told me to stop on the track, and I didn't know why. Later, to hear that I'd been excluded from qualifying, was of course extremely disappointing.
"But, now, looking ahead to tomorrow, I think it's clear that it's going to be an incredibly tough race for us. Even so, as always, I'll never give up and I'll give it everything I've got. It would mean so much to me to get a good result here in Spain: it's such a pleasure to come here and the support I get is amazing.
"As I always say, and as I always do, whatever grid position I start a grand prix from, I'll always race my heart out."
Team principal Martin Whitmarsh added: "You won't be surprised to hear me saying that today was a very disappointing day for all at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. But, if I may start by stressing the positives, both today and yesterday our car has shown itself to be both fast and stable at this most testing of circuits, and as a result Jenson was extremely quick yesterday and Lewis extremely quick today.
"But, when it came to final qualifying this afternoon, by their own admission Jenson and his engineers didn't quite manage to find the 'sweet spot' in terms of set-up and tyre optimisation, and the result was P11 [P10 after Lewis's penalty]. Lewis, by contrast, hooked it up beautifully in Q3 today, continuing his run of scintillating quali-laps so far this season.
"However, he was unable to finish his slow-down lap - and, since we accept that the stewards didn't agree with our interpretation of force majeure, we didn't contest their decision to penalise him. Our aim is therefore now to maximise the points we can score tomorrow, and you may rest assured that both Jenson and Lewis will approach the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix with their customary combative ambition."