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Whitmarsh confirms wheel failure for Hamilton

Martin Whitmarsh has confirmed that a failed wheel rim caused Lewis Hamilton to crash on the penultimate lap of last weekend’s Spanish grand prix.

Shortly after the Briton’s sudden tyre deflation, the McLaren team boss speculated that “debris” rather than an actual tyre problem probably caused the accident.

Bridgestone’s initial analysis was similar, but it did not stop some pundits from hinting that Hamilton’s aggressive driving style might have been a contributing factor.

But the damaged parts were returned to Woking for analysis on Monday, and Whitmarsh confirmed on Tuesday that a wheel rim failure looks the likely cause.

“The rim failure is being investigated,” he told reporters during a teleconference.

“It could be debris related, it could be an issue of deflection, or it could be a lack of tightness in the wheel nut, which allowed some flexing.

“What we know is the rim failed, probably human error somewhere in the process caused it, and that led to a deflation and the accident,” Whitmarsh added.