Lewis Hamilton was left ruing his bad luck once again in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix after a fire on his car forced him to pull up at the side of the track without setting a lap time.
Hamilton started last weekend’s German Grand Prix from 20th position after suffering a brake failure during qualifying at Hockenheim, but lightning has struck twice, and he will start tomorrow’s race from the back of the grid following a fuel leak.
“I can’t really believe it today, there was just nothing I could do,” the Briton said. “There was an issue with the car as I was coming out of the second to last corner and then the engine just cut out. I thought we could get it back to the garage but then I looked in my mirrors and saw the whole rear end was on fire and that was it.
“Now we need to see what damage has been done to the car tonight and see whether the gearbox or engine needs to be changed.”
Hamilton has called on the Mercedes team to improve the reliability of the car, given that this is the sixth time this season that something has gone wrong on his W05 Hybrid.
“It’s getting to the point where it’s beyond bad luck now,” he said. “As a team, we need to do better.
“Tonight, I need to somehow find the way to turn this into a positive for tomorrow, then build on that going into the race.
“It will be a very difficult afternoon as it’s one of the hardest circuits to overtake on. But these things are sent to try us and how I come out of it is going to be the most important thing.”
Hamilton has traditionally excelled at the Hungaroring, and looked poised to become the first driver to win the race five times this weekend judging by his practice form. Now, he faces an uphill struggle to avoid losing yet more ground to Rosberg in the battle for the drivers’ championship.
Unsurprisingly, the FIA race stewards have confirmed that Hamilton will be permitted to race tomorrow despite not setting a time within the required 107% of the quickest driver in Q1.
“The stewards grant permission for car 44 Lewis Hamilton to start the race, as the driver has set satisfactory times in practice at this event,” read a statement.
You can watch the Hungarian Grand Prix live on CNBC and Live Extra from 7:30am ET tomorrow.