LEWIS HAMILTON was left cursing his luck again after a blow out on the penultimate lap robbed him of second place in the Spanish Grand Prix.
The McLaren driver looked all set for a third podium place of the season when he suddenly skidded off with his front left tyre hanging from his car.
Up to then, the Brit had driven brilliantly to pass Sebastian Vettel during the pit-stop period and split the dominant Red Bulls with Mark Webber out in front.
But Hamilton was denied the 18 points for second and now finds himself in a tie for sixth in the championship standings, 21 points behind team-mate Jenson Button, who came home in a disappointing fifth.
“It was a similar feeling to what happened at the Nurburgring,” said a frustrated Hamilton. “This is my third or fourth tyre blow out in my career. More than most people have in their whole lifetime. It was looking like a great job for us, but then it’s never over until it’s over. Eighteen points and I’d have been right back in the championship battle, but as it is, I’m a little bit further back now.
“So I’m absolutely blown away that something happened on the last two laps of the race, but that’s motor racing. You just have to keep your chin up and look forward.”
Australian Webber led from start to finish to become the first pole-setter this season to claim victory. He was being swiftly followed by team-mate Vettel but Hamilton soon stole a march on Vettel until the German suffered brake problems and slipped back.
Fernando Alonso crept up into the podium places and couldn’t believe his luck when Hamilton crashed out just four miles from the end.
Button also slipped back after suffering a problem with his front wheel, but passed veteran Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes to regain fifth and claim the 10 points needed to stay three points clear of Alonso in the championship standings.