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F1 NEWS 

McLaren take blame for Hamilton exit

McLaren have taken the responsibility for keeping Lewis Hamilton out too long on his wet tyres at the Chinese Grand Prix.

The world championship leader ran off the track on the entry to the pitlane as he came in to change his badly worn wet tyres - putting him out of the race and setting up a title showdown in Brazil in two weeks' time.

Speaking to ITV after the race, McLaren F1 CEO Martin Whitmarsh said the team made a mistake in keeping Hamilton out.

"Quite simply we didn't call him in," he said. "I think with hindsight we left him out a lap too long and I think his tyres were pretty worn.

"The weather was pretty changeable at that time and we wanted to make sure that we weren't taking any risks and that we had to cover Kimi. In the end it was decided we had to come in, but at that stage it was frankly a lap too late.

"For Lewis it was a very disappointing day, but for Fernando he is very much in the championship fight. For the fans we have got a pretty exciting race in Brazil in two weeks' time. We are still in great shape.

"Fernando did a great job today and it was very difficult conditions. It's a sad day for Lewis and, as a team, we are still 1-2 in the drivers' championship with everything to go for. It is going to be a very tense Brazil."

Whitmarsh said McLaren wanted to stall for time on making a choice for Hamilton's tyres because of the changeable weather conditions.

"It was our decision," he said. "We were getting the weather information and it was coming and going. We didn't want to come in and get on the wrong tyre.

"We took it one lap too long and we regret that now. But I think Lewis was doing a great job and it's a shame we couldn't get the job done here today."

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