Lewis Hamilton will line up fourth in the grid for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix despite a wishbone failure that caused him to spin out of qualifying at the Yas Marina circuit.
The Mercedes man was on his final timed lap of the session when he lost the rear end of his car at turn 13, bringing out the yellow flags and preventing him from improving his time.
Checks after the session have now confirmed a broken wishbone was to blame for the issue, with Hamilton hoping to improve on his starting slot when race day comes around.
“Fourth place feels pretty good this evening considering the time was set on my first Q3 lap,” he said prior to confirmation of the cause of the problem. “Unfortunately on my second lap it looks like something gave way at the back of the car as I got on the power at the chicane and it just snapped out, which forced me into a spin. It was a great lap and might just have been enough to get us onto the front row as I was fourth-tenths up on my first effort but these things happen.
“The car felt really strong today so we'll hope for a good start and then challenge to make up some positions in the race tomorrow. The good thing is that we are ahead of Ferrari and that's where we need to stay. I'm looking forward to tomorrow and hope we can get a good result.”
Team principal Ross Brawn admitted there was an element of 'what might have been' about Hamilton's lap but said he was pleased to see both of his drivers close to the front-running pace.
“We will never know how that lap could have panned out but we were certainly closer on ultimate performance than we have been in a while,” he said. “Looking to the race, we were not particularly happy with the car on our long runs yesterday, but the drivers and their engineers did a great job overnight to make some changes and improve the situation. The track has also changed significantly, so we will have to see how things turn out.
“Strategy will clearly be a major consideration for the race and I am sure we will see a mix of one and two stop strategies. It certainly promises to be an intriguing race.”