F1 2012 Singapore Grand Prix: Hamilton retires from night race
PUBLISHED: 13:55 23 September 2012 | UPDATED: 14:42 23 September 2012
FORMULA 1 driver Lewis Hamilton retired from the 2012 Singapore Grand Prix with mechanical failure.
The 27-year-old Vodafone McLaren Mercedes racer from Hertfordshire pulled over to the side of the Marina Bay street circuit on lap 23 with a gearbox failure and smoke coming out of his car.
He was leading the sport’s night race at the time ahead of the Red Bull of reigning F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel.
The McLaren pitwall told the unlucky Hamilton: “We have had a gearbox failure Lewis. Please park somewhere safe.
“Brilliant driving until then. We’ll have to look forward to the next one.”
The radio message added “we did all we could yesterday” – suggesting there was an issue with Hamilton’s car after qualifying.
With his McLaren still out on track, a dejected Hamilton arrived back at the pit garage hot and sweaty. He immediately started to debrief with his engineers.
Starting from pole position with F1 bad boy Pastor Maldonado alongside him on the front row, Hamilton had made a clean getaway to lead the race into the first corner.
Vettel and Jenson Button both passed the Williams of Maldonado on the first lap to make it a McLaren, Red Bull, McLaren top three.
At one stage Hamilton asked the team over the radio: “How is my pace.”
The pitwall reply came: “Your pace is good and you are looking after the tyres. Vettel has pitted into traffic and the car behind is Jenson.”
Race leader Hamilton pitted himself for new tyres after 12 laps and came out ahead of Vettel, with Button running third after the first round of stops.
However, Hamilton’s race came to a premature end before mid distance, his McLaren coasting to a halt.