Wishbone failure caused Hamilton to spin out in qualifying

Leave a comment

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.

James Hinchcliffe on Andretti: ‘It’s certainly the place I want to be’

Leave a comment

Since before the start of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, James Hinchcliffe tirelessly has worked to ensure the future would include a full-time return in 2021.

And with an opportunity to run the final three races this season with Andretti Autosport, there seems a surefire (albeit unlikely) path.

“If I go out and win all three,” Hinchcliffe joked with IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview Friday (watch the video above), “it would be hard for them to say no, right?”

Regardless of whether he can go unbeaten at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course next weekend or the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida (where he earned his first career win in 2013), Hinchcliffe will have the chance to improve his stock with the team that he knows well and now has an opening among its five cars for 2021.

All three of Hinchcliffe’s starts this season — the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, July 4 at the IMS road course and the Indianapolis 500 — were with Andretti, where he ran full time in IndyCar from 2012-14.

“Obviously, the plan from January 2020 was already working on ’21 and trying to be in a full-time program,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed being reunited with Andretti Autosport, and everybody there has been so supportive. It’s been a very fun year for me on track. It’s been kind of a breath of fresh air in a lot of ways.

“It’s certainly the place I want to be moving forward. We’ve been working on that, working on those conversations. Genesys has been an incredible partner in my three races. We’ll be representing Gainbridge primarily, but Genesys will still have a position on our car in the last three.”

Gainbridge is the primary sponsor of the No. 26 Dallara-Honda that was vacated by Zach Veach, who left the team after it was determined he wouldn’t return in 2021. Hinchcliffe can empathize having lost his ride with Arrow McLaren SP after last season with a year left on his deal.

“You never want to earn a ride at the expense of somebody else in the sense that has happened here with Zach,” Hinchcliffe said. “I feel bad that he’s not able to see out the last three races of his season. I’ve got a lot of respect for him off track. He’s been a teammate this year, a colleague for years before that and honestly a friend for years before that. I’ve got a lot of time for him and his family. I understand a little bit of what it’s like in that position and what he’s going through.”

Hinchcliffe is ready to seize the moment, though, starting with the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He had been hoping to add the Harvest Indy Grand Prix to his schedule and had been working out for the possibility.

“Then last week I had given up hope (and) was resigned that wasn’t happening,” he said. “I told my trainer, ‘I think we’re done for this year.’ Three days later, this call comes. I’m glad we didn’t make that decision too early. I feel great physically.

“I look at it as a great opportunity to continue to show I’ve still got what it takes and should be there hopefully full time next year on the grid.”

Watch Hinchliffe’s video with Leigh Diffey above or by clicking here.