Lewis Hamilton's hopes of winning a second world championship in three years suffered a big blow yesterday as he retired from the Hungarian Grand Prix. A transmission problem forced the McLaren-Mercedes car to pull off to the side of the track on lap 25 and left the Briton with no points. The 2008 champion has now been overtaken in the standings by Mark Webber, who won the race at the Hungaroring, and the Briton trails the Australian by four points going into the four week summer break.
A disappointed Hamilton, who had been running fourth before the mechanical problems set in, said: "That's racing and we just have to work very hard to catch up. "We've lost a lot of points today. That's the second time this year. Hopefully we can work very hard so in the next few races we don't have any problems. "It doesn't help for sure, but there's nothing you can do. We always do a phenomenal job normally. It's a shame to have the fault here at this point of the year, but that's life.
"This is motorsport and when you're pushing the cars to the limit these things can happen. We just have to go away and try and learn from this." It was an equally tough weekend for Jenson Button, Hamilton's McLaren teammate. The world champion could only finish a lap down in eighth and has now fallen from second to fourth in the championship standings. Button had started 11th on the grid, but lost four places to fall to 15th navigating the first corner.
He was able to move back up the order with an early pit-stop but his efforts only earned him four championship points. The 30-year-old tried to put a brave face on the result, saying: "Finishing eighth wasn't too bad. "I'm only 14 points behind the championship leader, after all - so it's still all to play for. It's been a tough weekend, but we'll come back fighting." * Compiled by Graham Caygill, with agencies