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Car trouble brings Formula One debut to a grinding halt

SUSIE Wolff has described her Formula One debut as heart-wrenchingly disappointing, as car trouble forced her out of a practice session after just four laps.

DISAPPOINTed: Scottish driver Susie Wolff, the first woman in 22 years to take part in a grand prix weekend, wipes her eye.
DISAPPOINTed: Scottish driver Susie Wolff, the first woman in 22 years to take part in a grand prix weekend, wipes her eye.

The Scottish driver made F1 history yesterday when she became the first woman for 22 years to take part in a grand prix weekend, and only the sixth overall, when she drove in a practice session for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

But in front of a 70,000-strong crowd, and with various messages of support dotted around the track, Wolff's outing was over after just 20 minutes.

After completing four laps in her Williams, with one that very briefly put her top of the time-sheet, an engine failure caused by an oil pressure problem forced her to pull off the circuit.

The car made it back to the garage but mechanics were unable to fix the problem and send the 31-year-old back on track. Despite the disappointment, Wolff said she hoped her appearance was inspirational for women everywhere.

She will have another chance in a fortnight's time as she is scheduled to drive in first practice for the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.

"There was great emotion today," said Wolff. "It was always going to be a very special day for me - a British woman driving for such an iconic British team at the British Grand Prix. What happened is motor sport sometimes. It can be heart-wrenchingly disappointing, but these things happen.

"And that's the difficulty with sport on occasion. You can put in so much hard work, so much preparation and look forward to something so much, and then on the second lap the engine stops.

"That's a big disappointment, but now it's about keeping my head up and making sure I do a better job and get more laps in Hockenheim. There I have to really show what I can do because I didn't get the opportunity today, so I need to keep working hard and focus on doing a good job there."

Drawing on the positives, she added: "I had so much support out there, and for that I'm very thankful. I was also very excited. As soon as I put my helmet on and I was in the car, it felt really good.

"When I left the pit lane for the first time that was a great feeling, and then to be out on track in that car, it was fun, so I enjoyed the small amount of running I had. It was also inspirational for women. I made it out on to the track, but I have to show I can do a lot more than just drive in the car for one lap. I want to show I'm quick enough in Formula One."

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