Hockenheim, Germany: Lewis Hamilton’s bid for a fifth world title suffered a setback Saturday when his Mercedes car broke down and forced him to abandon qualifying for the German Grand Prix.
After running wide and locking up at Turn Eight, the defending four-time champion lost use of his gearbox and was told by the team to stop to avoid further damage following a hydraulics failure in the first part of Saturday’s hour-long session.
He is likely to start Sunday’s race in 14th place or worse, if the team have to replace his gearbox or other parts.
The setback is a blow to his hopes of mounting a fight-back against home hero Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari in the drivers’ world championship.
Vettel, who is also bidding for a fifth title, leads Hamilton by eight points.