Damper failure slowed Hamilton in Suzuka

Lewis Hamilton says that his Suzuka weekend was compromised by a damper-related failure that McLaren did not discover until after the race.

Hamilton struggled in qualifying and again in the race, although by the end of it he was a little happier with the balance of the car. Nevertheless by then the damage had been done to his chances.

“Hopefully it will be a better weekend this weekend,” he said today. “We struggled a little bit and didn’t get the result we wanted in both Singapore and also Suzuka. At the end of the race I said I felt something was wrong throughout the weekend.

“We found that we had a couple of mechanical problems in the car from qualifying through to the race in the last race, which is positive for me to know, because I thought I felt something. Hopefully for me this weekend should be better and we should be back on the pace.”

Elaborating on the problem he added: “It was something in the rear dampers, and basically it knocked out the balance in a certain way. The set-up change I made should have been the right one, but the effect, it didn’t actually work. It’s difficult to see that until they’ve figured it in the data.”

Meanwhile Hamilton says he’s far from out of the championship battle, and has high hopes for this weekend, having been on pole in 2011.

“It’s still up for grabs, it’s obviously a little bit tougher for us, a little bit closer for Sebastian and Fernando. But still 125 points available, so I’m going to try to grab every single one. I’m still in it to win it. It’s theoretically still possible, so I’ll keep pushing. Even when it’s not theoretically possible, I’ll still keep pushing, to get up as high as possible.

“The Red Bulls have been pretty quick here in the past so I anticipate that they will be very quick here this weekend. I think the Lotus would be quick here I would have thought, they’ve been pretty good in a lot of places, but still yet to win a race. Hopefully we’ll be very strong this year, as we were last year – we got pole last year, and I’m hoping that can be repeated.”

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