x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Al Hameli's frustration as engine failure costs him

The Emirati had led the race from the start and looked set to kick-start his world-title chase when he suffered the problem with just four laps to go.

An engine failure wrecked Ahmed al Hameli's hopes of winning the Grand Prix of China yesterday.

The Emirati had led the race from the start and looked set to kick-start his world-title chase when he suffered the problem with just four laps to go.

His exit handed victory to Italy's Francesco Cantando, who moved into an 11-point lead in the UIM F1 World Championship.

Thani al Qamzi, al Hameli's teammate, was forced to start the race from the back of the grid after technical issues of his own in the time trials and he managed to move up to finish sixth overall.

Al Qamzi is now equal fourth in the UIM F1 Drivers' Championship, 15 points behind Cantado, heading into the final three rounds of the season in Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah next month and in December.

The Team Abu Dhabi drivers faced very differing fortunes at the start of the Shenzhen race.

Al Hameli started from pole while al Qamzi was down in 17th position after his qualifying problems.

Forty-seven laps of the shortest course in the F1 racing calendar lay ahead and al Hameli managed to stay out in front of Cantando through the opening circuits.

An incident involving Jay Price, who had been leading the championship going into the event, forced a yellow flag after four laps and left the door open for al Qamzi to close in on the top of the points tables.

The Team Abu Dhabi drivers held first and 10th places at the restart and al Qamzi managed to climb to eighth position after 14 laps.

Al Hameli had extended his lead over Cantando to 4.74secs through 25 laps, but his late misfortune gave Cantando the victory and the championship lead.

Al Hameli was red hot in the time trials to clinch pole position in yesterday's race. The Emirati has a 29-point lead in the UIM F1 Pole Position Championship.

* Agency