Lewis Hamilton's hopes of winning the Japanese Grand Prix took a beating, quite literally, when he planted his McLaren in the barriers at Degner during Friday practice at Suzuka, leaving the Briton relying on a 9000km rescue mission by his team.

The Friday morning accident not only left Hamilton's car badly damaged, but also rendered his version of latest rear wing design from Woking's finest unusable, prompting McLaren to put in an emergency request to headquarters for replacement endplates. As a result, a team member more used to watching the action from home was despatched on a marathon delivery mission with the added pressure of meeting the deadline of qualifying on Saturday afternoon in Japan.

The logistics of the trip, and the need to reach the circuit in time for the repaired wing to be fitted to Hamilton's car before the parc ferme rules kick in ahead of qualifying, mean that, door-to-door, it has to be completed in less than 24 hours, with the necessary complication of airport delays and making connections thrown in for good measure.

Hamilton, meanwhile, will complete Saturday morning practice with an older version of the rear wing fitted to his MP4-24, while team-mate Jenson Button continues his preparation with the only other new-spec example.



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