McLaren is confident it can avoid Lewis Hamilton receiving a grid penalty for the forthcoming Korean grand prix.

McLaren is confident it can avoid Lewis Hamilton receiving a grid penalty for the forthcoming Korean grand prix.

The Briton moved five places down the Suzuka grid due to an unscheduled gearbox change before qualifying, and he finished the Japanese race without third gear that further dented his fading championship hopes.

"I didn't think the car would make it -- it was making a lot of strange noises," said Hamilton, who finished in fifth place.

"The championship doesn't look great at the moment," admitted the 25-year-old, who is now 28 points behind Mark Webber's lead.

Initial analysis of the latest gearbox problem by the team in the Suzuka garage is a dog-ring failure.

Said team boss Martin Whitmarsh: "We're confident it can be resolved for Korea without incurring a five-place grid penalty.

"For the final three races, we've got to make sure we have 100 per cent reliability.

"We'll keep on pushing and developing this car. There's no reason why we can't be fighting for the championship in Abu Dhabi," he insisted.

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