Pit-lane blunders decisive in China

  • AFP, Shanghai
  • |
  • Updated: Apr 15, 2012 18:40 IST

An error by the McLaren pit-crew during Jenson Button's third and final tyre-stop was crucial in deciding the outcome of the Chinese Grand Prix. Getty Images

Former world champions Jenson Button and Michael Schumacher both saw their Chinese Grand Prix victory hopes ruined by pit-lane errors, but refused to blame their teams for wrecking their chances.

First to go, about a quarter of the way through the action in Shanghai, was the Mercedes of Schumacher, who had started on the front row of the grid with team-mate Nico Rosberg, the eventual race winner.
As Schumacher made off to exit the pit after a tyre change, a Mercedes mechanic could be seen frantically waving his arms in a vain bid to stop him.
But the 43-year-old was gone, only to slow up and stop shortly afterwards as he was forced to meekly bow out, his chance of a first race win since coming out of retirement over.
Minutes later Mercedes confirmed on Twitter: "Michael's right front wheel was not fitted properly at the stop leading to his retirement."
Looking disappointed, though not angry, Schumacher said: "The front wheel got loose. We need to check why and exactly what happened.
"I feel a bit sad for one of our boys, but I will hug him later on and calm him down."
Button survived his pit-lane problem, but saw his chance of snatching victory go and had to settle for second in his McLaren.
"I stopped on the markers and had a problem on the rear," the Briton revealed.
"I got stuck for maybe 10 seconds," he added, allowing Rosberg to streak into a clear lead that he never looked likely to surrender.
"The first two (stops) were very good. These things happen."

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