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Hamilton gives up on German victory after catastrophe

Walking back to unhappiness: Lewis Hamilton walks through the pit lane after he was forced to abandon qualifying on Saturday © POOL/AFP / VALDRIN XHEMAJ

HOCKENHEIM, Germany, Jul 21Lewis Hamilton said he does not believe he can repeat his Silverstone heroics by driving through the field to gain a podium finish in Sunday’s German Grand Prix.

The four-time world champion is expected to start the race from 14th on the grid after suffering a hydraulics failure in the first period of qualifying when he pulled up in his Mercedes and abandoned the session.

“At a track like this not really, no,” he said, when asked if he could find a way to challenge at the front of the race.

“This is one of the worst ones for overtaking. I will do what I can from there.

“These things happen, all you can do is try to gather your thoughts and live to fight another day.

“Put your energy, any negative energy, whatever energy you have and put it towards trying to do your best next day, for another opportunity to rise -– so I’ll give it everything tomorrow and see how I can get up but it’s not going to be like Silverstone.”

The 33-year-old defending champion added that he believed his car suffered a hydraulics failure before he ran wide and over the kerbs at Turn One, leading to him abandoning the session.

Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff said he believed that the car’s hydraulics were broken when the 33-year-old defending champion hit the kerbs.

“The issue was that we seem to have damaged a bit on the car jumping over the kerb and that caused a hydraulic leak, but the car is just coming back so we need to check whether that was really the case,” he told reporters.

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“Then, obviously, we were not good enough on pace to make it onto pole.”

Hamilton said he did not think it was the kerb that did the damage.

“No, we use the kerb the same every lap. We got to the kerb and just before the kerb the steering broke so that was the issue.”

His latest setback followed disappointments in Canada, where he was a hot favourite to win, but was beaten by championship leader Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari, Austria, where Mercedes suffered a double retirement, and Britain where he was involved in an opening lap collision after starting on pole, but stormed through the field to finish second behind Vettel.

Adding to Hamilton’s frustration was seeing Vettel, who leads the championship race by eight points, roar to pole for Sunday’s race.

Later Saturday, a Mercedes spokesman confirmed that a hydraulics failure had been the cause of Hamilton’s misery.

“We had the failure at Turn One as Lewis ran the ‘normal’ kerb which all the drivers use in that stage of qualifying,” said the spokesman.

“Then, with failed power steering as a result of the hydraulic failure, he had the ‘jumping’ moments that were seen on TV and which people understandably thought might have been the cause of the issue, but were, in fact, a consequence of it.”

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