Even if Ham didn’t complete a single lap on Saturday, the McLaren mechanics noticed some abnormal gearbox behavior on the Brit’s MP4-25 during P3 in the morning. After fixing the problem initially, the symptoms have gotten worse a few hours later, so the team decided to change the gearbox all-together for the upcoming qualifying session.
“In P3 today, we noticed abnormal gearbox oil pressure on Lewis's car, which we believed we had corrected ahead of this afternoon's qualifying session,” said a team’s spokesman on Saturday.
“This afternoon, as we fired up Lewis's car several times in preparation for qualifying, we became aware that the symptoms were worse than we'd originally diagnosed, and a decision was later taken to change the gearbox ahead of tomorrow's qualifying session and the grand prix. As a result, Lewis will receive a five-place grid penalty for tomorrow's race,” added the McLaren official.
We’ll remind you that Hamilton already started the Japanese Grand Prix on the wrong foot, having crashed early in the first practice session on Friday. As a result, he benefited from limited practice time in Day 1 of the Japanese GP, while the Saturday running was prevented by torrential rain.
Hamilton is yet to score a point since his win in the Belgian Grand Prix, having recorded two consecutive DNFs in Italy and Singapore.