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Fire hits Lewis Hamilton’s qualifying hopes in Hungary

Track marshals extinguish Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton

Track marshals extinguish Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton

Luckless Lewis Hamilton’s bid for a fifth pole position in Hungary literally went up in flames as his car caught fire early in qualifying.

Just minutes into the session at the Hungaroring, Hamilton’s Mercedes was ablaze at the rear, and although he attempted to crawl back to the garage, it proved a futile exercise.

Hamilton was forced to stop on the pit lane entry road where marshals quickly used extinguishers to douse the fire, started by what Mercedes claimed to be a fuel leak.

As the Briton looked on, and even though the visor was down on his helmet, you could sense his bitter pain and disappointment as he shook his head disconsolately before trudging away.

It was yet another brutal blow for Hamilton in his bid to overhaul Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in this year’s battle for the Formula One world title.

In the build up to this race Hamilton had spoken of his desire to enjoy a clean weekend without his errors on one hand, and unreliability on the other.

But the 29-year-old must now feel like this may not be his year given the run of wretched luck he has endured this campaign.

In a season when Mercedes are dominant, and when their cars do finish a race they are either first or second, Hamilton has so far suffered two DNFs (did not finish) to the one for Rosberg.

That has played a key role in the 14-point gap between the pair ahead of Sunday’s race.

A poor run in qualifying has also been instrumental, with Hamilton making mistakes in Canada and Austria to deny himself pole.

There was an error of judgement at Silverstone, but Hamilton produced a masterful drive to take the British Grand Prix chequered flag.

But for these last two races, and in the space of eight days, the Briton has been hit by rotten misfortune.

At Hockenheim last Saturday a right-front brake disc failure resulted in Hamilton hurtling into a tyre barrier with a 30g impact.

Starting from 20th on the grid, as he also had to take a five-place penalty for a gearbox change given the damage sustained, he again pulled out a stunning drive to claim third behind Rosberg.

Hockenheim, however, affords a driver opportunities to overtake, but not the Hungaroring where it is notoriously difficult to pass.

Although Hamilton has won four times at the circuit, a fifth is not in the offing as he will now likely start from the pitlane given the team will have to work on his fire-damaged car overnight.

 

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