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'Gearbox glitch cost Hamilton the title'
October 22, 2007 13:07 IST
A gearbox glitch cost Lewis Hamilton [Images] a place in the history books as Formula One's youngest world champion, McLaren team boss Ron Dennis said on Sunday.
The 22-year-old British rookie finished seventh in the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix, losing the title by one point to Ferrari's [Images] Kimi Raikkonen [Images] after starting the race as favourite.
Hamilton had started on the front row, ahead of his title rivals, but an early spin off the track sent him down to eighth place and then the gearbox malfunction struck just when he had fought back to sixth.
Dennis said the exact cause of the problem is not yet known but the result was that the gearbox went into default mode and selected neutral.
"There was an incorrect command given to the system," he said. "That fault, why did the system get an incorrect command, we don't know yet. It could be a sensor."
Dennis absolved the driver, who had been seven points clear of Raikkonen and four ahead of team mate Fernando Alonso [Images], of any blame but rued the misfortune.
"In many ways Lewis was trying to stay out of problems. Maybe if he was just going for it, things would have been slightly different," he said.
"But he didn't. He's trying to be careful, let people past. We had the pace that was required to win the world championship.
"The only reason that we did not win the world championship was the gearbox problem," he told reporters. "That cost us 30 seconds and it was too much time to make up against cars that were relatively competitive," said Dennis.
"There was nothing that Lewis did that had any relevance to the gearbox," he added.
"A kick in the teeth is the wrong expression," continued the team boss. "That imparts a belief that someone did something to us and no-one's done anything to us.
"We basically did it to ourselves. We didn't have the perfection that we were striving for."
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