Lewis Hamilton, who has been penalised time and again, admits that he was at fault for infringement that earned him a three-place grid penalty
Lewis Hamilton's season took another turn for the worse yesterday when he was hit by a three-place grid penalty for ignoring a safety flag in practice for the Indian Grand Prix. The 2008 champion for McLaren, who has struggled this season and recently split from his pop-star girlfriend, timed fastest in opening practice as he aims to end his year on a high.
Going wrong: Lewis Hamilton drives during practice for the Indian GP at the Buddh International Circuit yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
But Hamilton will be unable to start from the front row in Sunday's race after his sanction for ignoring yellow flags warning him that marshalls were close to the track. Sauber's Mexican driver Sergio Perez received an identical penalty for ignoring flags at the same turn.
Hamilton had clocked 1min 26.836sec with his final run, nosing ahead of Red Bull's newly re-crowned world champion Sebastian Vettel and his Australian team-mate Mark Webber. Hamilton's McLaren partner Jenson Button was fourth, followed by seven-time title-winner Michael Schumacher in his Mercedes.
But Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was one of three drivers who came to grief on the dusty Buddh International Circuit near New Delhi as he stopped his car on a service road and sat disconsolately under a giant TV screen. "It hasn't been the best of Fridays," Hamilton admitted. "I'm a bit frustrated at myself, it's my fault as usual so I just have to do what I can from wherever I qualify tomorrow. "I have no one else to blame, it's only me driving. (But) it's not the end of the world and I can still recover from it," he added.
Massa fastest Ferrari's Felipe Massa upset the form books with the quickest practice drive. Massa conquered Buddh International Circuit's dusty new track with a time of 1min 25.706sec, beating recently crowned world champion Sebastian Vettel and his Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso in an incident-packed opening day.