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Whitmarsh: 'I was wrong and I'm embarrassed'
Monday 14th May 2012, 14:10 by Ryan Wood
© Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
Martin Whitmarsh has admitted he was wrong to allow Lewis Hamilton to complete his final qualifying lap, which would later result in him being excluded.
The McLaren driver secured pole position but was told to stop on his in-lap as he didn't have enough fuel to return to the pits and to provide a one litre sample.
The FIA took the decision to exclude Hamilton from qualifying which meant he started from 24th and last for Sunday's race.
Team principal Whitmarsh says he would have done things differently, had he known what the penalty would have been.
"With hindsight I was wrong, but I don't think I or very many people anticipated that, as a consequence, we would be starting from the back of the grid," he said.
"With hindsight I could have called it a different way, and he could have just come in at the end of the out lap. But frankly I did not expect the penalty that he received."
Whitmarsh explained that he and the team only knew about the fuel problem whilst Hamilton was on-track.
"Part way through that last qualifying lap, the data indicated that there was not as much fuel on board as we thought.
"We knew there is a black and white regulation that says you have to be able to give a litre [sample] at the end, so I took a call which was: right, that is a black and white regulation, there is no negotiation, let's make sure we can comply," he continued.
"We stopped the car and pumped out 1.3 litres as it turned out, but we didn't know that until several hours later. It could have been three litres and I would have been moderately embarrassed. Whatever the outcome I was going to be embarrassed."