Mercedes have blamed a ‘freak’ component failure for Lewis Hamilton’s Singapore Grand Prix retirement, which cost the Briton a potential podium finish.
Hamilton had been running fourth at the halfway point in the race but reported a sudden loss of power. He began dropping back down the field as he and the team frantically tried to fix the problem.
After two laps he had dropped back to last but one when Mercedes finally chose to retire his car and save the engine.
“We tried everything we could to resolve the loss of power while he was out on track but there was nothing we could do and we retired the car when that became clear,” explained Mercedes chief Toto Wolff.
“We had a very minor bit – a metal clamp – that broke and had a massive effect,” he explained. “The clamp was on plenum, and was holding the plenum together and when it jumped off it caused a boost leak.
“It was a freak [failure], yeah. We’ve ran that design for a long time. It’s a typical metal clamp and it just broke.”
Wolff doesn’t expect Hamilton’s engine to have suffered any damage in the incident: “Lewis’s engine shouldn’t have any problem,” he confirmed after the race.
Hamilton meanwhile believes he had the pace and strategy to mount a challenge against Sebastian Vettel for the race win, but wasn’t too disheartened by the retirement – his first of the season.
“The race was going very well,” he said. “For me it felt like I was driving at my best in the race. I think I had the pace to win. I did everything. I was on the prime keeping up easily with the guys at the front on the option.
“My pace was really good when I started to lose power. I felt like the team was working as hard as they could and these kinds of things just happen.
“Our reliability is really high as we had an amazing season so far. It’s still a long way to go and I know I lost some points today, but I was fast and on form and I will make sure I bring that out to Suzuka to fight back!”