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McLaren's Lewis Hamilton hit by grid penalty in Japan

Venue: Suzuka Circuit Date: 10 October, race 0700 BST.
Coverage: BBC One, BBC Radio 5 live and sports extra and text commentary on the BBC Sport website Find complete listings here

Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton's title chances have suffered another big setback

McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton has been penalised five places on the grid for Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix for changing his gearbox.

McLaren made the change after noticing abnormal gearbox oil pressure during the final practice session.

However Hamilton avoided a further penalty when stewards rejected a complaint of he had blocked Williams' Nico Hulkenberg during qualifying.

Hamilton will start the race from eighth position on the grid.

Hamilton completed just three laps during the rain-affected final practice, none of which were timed.


The McLaren team decided to make the change and accept the penalty rather than risk using the damaged gearbox.

"In P3 [final practice] we noticed abnormal gearbox oil pressure on Lewis's car which we believed we had corrected ahead of this afternoon's qualifying session," read a McLaren team statement.

"This afternoon, as we fired up Lewis's car several times in preparation for qualifying, we became aware that the symptoms were worse than we'd originally diagnosed.

"A decision was later taken to change the gearbox ahead of tomorrow's qualifying session and the grand prix. As a result, Lewis will receive a five-place grid penalty for tomorrow's race."

The grid penalty comes as another blow to Hamilton's title hopes, which have already suffered after he failed to finish in three of the last four races - twice because he damaged his car in failed overtaking manoeuvres.

The 25-year-old Hamilton is 20 points behind championship leader Mark Webber.

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see also
Japanese GP qualifying postponed
09 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Ferrari dismiss doubts over Massa
09 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Japan qualifying day as it happened
09 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Japanese GP Saturday photos
09 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Hamilton suffers practice crash
08 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Alonso not worried by Suzuka rain
08 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Next two races critical - Vettel
08 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Japanese GP practice as it happened
08 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Japanese Grand Prix practice results
24 Feb 10 |  Results
Alonso declares himself favourite
07 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Hamilton eyes championship charge
07 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
McLaren duo 'still in title hunt'
06 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Sauber sign Perez as new driver
04 Oct 10 |  Formula 1

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