LEWIS Hamilton has retired from the final Formula 1 race of the 2011 season in Brazil.

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The 26-year-old Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver from Hertfordshire was forced out of the 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix with a gearbox problem this afternoon (Sunday).

“Gearbox is gone,” he said over the McLaren radio as his disappointing season ended on another low point.

He parked his MP4-26 on the side of the Interlagos track on lap 46 of 71 after suffering mechanical failure.

Hamilton was battling with the Ferrari of Felipe Massa for fifth place when he entered the pits after 44 laps for his third stop for tyres in Sao Paulo.

At that stage Hamilton was still managing his gearbox issue.

The McLaren pitwall told Hamilton: “This is the prime tyre. There are 27 laps to go. This set has to go to the end.

“[Adrian] Sutil is ahead. He has to stop again, but we need to pass him. You’re going to be racing Massa as he leaves the pits.”

The Brazilian Ferrari driver came out ahead of Hamilton, but the McLaren man’s race lasted only a couple more laps before his gearbox finally packed up.

The McLaren pitwall told him: “You have a problem with the gearbox. Park near the nearest marshal’s post and switch the engine off. You were doing a great job.”

After Hamilton’s retirement, McLaren team-mate Jenson Button was also told over the radio: “Lewis has stopped with a gearbox problem. Everything is okay on our car, our car is good.”

Mark Webber comfortably won the race for Red Bull ahead of F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel, who was also nursing a gearbox problem with his car for most of the race.

Button was third for McLaren, with Ferrari drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa fourth and fifth respectively.

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