Lewis Hamilton was clearly unhappy with being noticeably off the pace in qualifying at Spa on Saturday, and blamed the decision to switch back to an older-style rear wing for his poor showing that left him starting the 2012 F1 Belgian Grand Prix in a disappointing seventh place.

"Jenson has the new rear wing on, I have the old," Hamilton said on Twitter, in one of several posts subsequently deleted from the social media site. "We voted to change, didn't work out. I lose 0.4 seconds just on the straight."

He'd added: "Nothing I could do. Now it's about picking up every point I can from there. Jenson should win easy with that speed," but the tweets were deleted with Hamilton explaining that he wished to "rephrase" the remarks appropriately.

Hamilton and his team had decided to change back to the old style wing after being unhappy with its performance in the Saturday morning Free Practice 3 - the only opportunity for dry running that the teams had ahead of qualifying after the Friday wash-out.

"After P3, the new one wasn't feeling so great," he explained to BBC Sport TV reporters in pit lane after qualifying. "We went to the old wing and it was an awful lot slower.

"Nothing happened," he replied when asked what had gone wrong with his Q3 flying lap. "I got absolutely everything out of the car on all the laps I had generally."

As for where that leaves his race hopes: "I'll just have to do the best I can. I will try and do as best I can to back Jenson up tomorrow," he said. "It's been good for him - I hope he gets maximum points. I've got to do damage limitations from where I am and score as much as I can."

Hamilton did agree that he'd signed off on the decision to switch to the older-style wing.

"It was a collective choice: we thought the older wing would be quicker in qualifying, but in fact Jenson has shown the new wing to be very good indeed," he admitted. ""The set-up wasn't perfect, but that was simply because we chose the wrong rear wing, preferring to stay with the version we used in Hungary."

"It is something we all discussed together, there are quite big decisions so everyone is consulted," said McLaren's technical director Paddy Lowe, who explained that the decision to go back to the older component and use a high downforce set-up with it had made sense given the data at the time.

"Lewis was quite a bit slower than Jenson [on Saturday] morning and we elected to go for the high downforce set-up," he explained. "It's a perfectly valid choice around here. It's not as though it's some sort of outlandish gamble. It's a choice we had seriously considered coming here."

Even so, Lowe admitted that the choices that they had made ahead of qualifying had resulted in a bigger drop in performance than expected.

"We will be looking at the differences and why we couldn't get the same performance, which ought to have been there on paper," he said. "The lap time is not explained by the differences in set-up ... Perhaps we over-reacted."

Certainly team boss Martin Whitmarsh let slip that he thought that the higher downforce setup selected for Hamilton had been a "mistake."

"We took a bit at a risk and you can always go down now and of course we'll analyse and maybe we got that wrong, we'll see. With the limited amount of data somtimes you've got to make a decision," explained Whitmarsh. "We weren't frankly where we wanted to be with either car this morning and in that circumstance if you do nothing you can't suppose there's going to be a great change in fortunes."

The team was quick to point out that last year Jenson Button had charged up from 13th on the grid at Spa to finish on the podium, so there was still everything to play.

"It's a long race," pointed out Lowe. "Tomorrow is race day when you score the points and both will want to win and they're both capable of winning."



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