Mercedes have confirmed that a failure on Lewis Hamilton’s car was the cause of his spin in the final part of qualifying, denying him a shot at pole position in Abu Dhabi today.
Although Hamilton did not appear to have the pace to match pole-sitter Mark Webber or second-placed Sebastian Vettel, the Briton did not get a chance to better his time after he spun off the track at turn twelve. The team has now confirmed that this was a result of a failure on the car.
Speaking after qualifying, team principal Ross Brawn said: “It now appears there was a technical problem which we will investigate fully when the car returns.” This has now been diagnosed as a wishbone failure.
“We can now confirm that a right-rear wishbone failed on Lewis’ car,” read a tweet from Mercedes’ official account. “We hope to repair the damage under parc ferme.”
Relying that the team is permitted to repair the damage without incurring a grid penalty, Hamilton will be able to start tomorrow’s race from fourth place. The Briton felt that he could have reached the front row had it not been for the wishbone failure, but he remains optimistic heading into the race tomorrow.
“It was a great lap and might just have been enough to get us onto the front row as I was fourth-tenths up on my first effort but these things happen,” Hamilton said. “The car felt really strong today so we’ll hope for a good start and then challenge to make up some positions in the race tomorrow.”
Mercedes will be hoping to capitalize on outqualifying both Lotus and Ferrari in Abu Dhabi as the three teams battle for second place in the constructors’ championship.
Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.
“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”
The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.
Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.
“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”
Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.