'Freak' failure caused Lewis Hamilton to retire from Singapore GP

Lewis Hamilton's retirement in the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix was caused by a "freak" component failure, according to Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff

'Freak' failure caused Lewis Hamilton to retire from Singapore GP

The reigning world champion reported a loss of power before dropping down the field and eventually pulling into the pits to retire the car.

Wolff said Mercedes had identified the problem and he is confident Hamilton will not have to change the engine for next weekend's Japanese Grand Prix.

"We had a very minor bit - a metal clamp, that broke and had a massive effect," said Wolff.

"The clamp was on plenum, and was holding the plenum together and when it jumped off it caused a boost leak.

"It was a freak, yeah. We ran that design for a long time. It's a typical metal clamp and it just broke.

"Lewis's engine shouldn't have any problem."

Hamilton, whose championship lead was cut to 41 points after his team-mate Nico Rosberg finished fourth, was pragmatic after suffering his first retirement in 20 races.

"The race was going really well, then the engine just lost easily half power, so I was just driving round slowly," he said. "It was like driving on the pit limiter.

"I was dead last, Sebastian was half a lap ahead of me, if not more, so even if the power had come back and I had pushed I would have just wasted an engine.

"I may have got one point - but I doubt it very much because you can't overtake here. But we'll fight for another day."

Hamilton was fourth when the problem struck, with the Briton believing he had the pace in the car to challenge the leaders.

"I was feeling really good out there, I was so optimistic," he said.

"I had more pace in the car so I was getting excited about the pitstops and when I could start pushing and where I could get up to.

"In my mind I thought I might have the chance to win this race, but then I lost power.

"I felt confident I was able to at least get up to second or third, but it's all ifs or buts."

Wolff felt the pace shown by race winner Sebastian Vettel at key moments - unseen by Hamilton - meant a victory was out of the question.

"Sebastian was managing the pace very much," Wolff said. "The moment he picked it up, twice in the race, he was just gone.

"Maybe a podium was possible for Lewis, but I think the [pace] gap was similar to yesterday."

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