Lewis Hamilton says his reliability issue during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix is “beyond bad luck” and is expecting a difficult race tomorrow.
The Brit was on his out lap in the first qualifying segment when the back of his car caught fire. He was forced to abandon his Mercedes W05 in the pit lane, allowing marshals to quickly extinguish the flames.
It is thought that the cause of the fire was a fuel leak. “I can’t really believe it today, there was just nothing I could do,” Hamilton said after the session.
“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. It’s getting to the point where it’s beyond bad luck now – 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.”
He was classified in 21st place after qualifying, but the team has yet to confirm if he will start the race from the pit lane.
Mercedes executive director (business) Toto Wolff said the team is still investigating what caused the problem, adding that the car was badly burnt.
“No. We are still analysing where exactly the fuel leak happened,” he explained. “The problem is the car is badly burnt so it’s going to be difficult to really identify the cause.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic