HOCKENHEIM, Germany, July 21 (Reuters) - Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton stopped on track, and then tried to push his car, during German Grand Prix qualifying on Saturday in another setback for the Mercedes driver’s title chances.
The Briton stepped out and leaned across to steer as marshals gave a helping hand, before giving up the battle as the first session ended.
He then crouched down next to the stricken car after it had been wheeled off the track, resting his helmeted head on the front in apparent shock.
A Mercedes spokesman said Hamilton, who is eight points behind Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in the title battle at the halfway point in the season, had lost hydraulic pressure.
“Gears won’t change,” Hamilton had reported over the team radio.
“Guys, I need to make it back,” he added.
“Stop, stop, stop, stop,” Mercedes responded with some urgency.
The team said it was important to stop the car to prevent “heat soak damage” to the power unit as happened to team mate Valtteri Bottas in Austria last month.
Hamilton had been only fifth fastest in the opening qualifying session, with speculation — dismissed by the team — earlier on Saturday that he was either feeling unwell or suffering from a stiff leg. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge)