Hamilton crashes out on day one in Jerez after suffering car failure
- Lewis Hamilton completed 18 laps before the 160mph crash at Turn 1
- Mercedes blame ‘front-wing failure’ for the accident on first day of testing
- Ferrari ace Kimi Raikkonen ended the opening day on top of the timesheets
- It was a day of very limited running: the teams combined completed just 93 laps, compared to 657 on the equivalent day last year
Whenever there is nothing happening, Lewis Hamilton usually provides the entertainment. He can be exceedingly good and occasionally frustrating, but he is never boring.
Bless him, because the new era of turbo-charged V6 engines began quietly here in sunny Jerez with more action in the garages than out on the track.
But just before lunchtime on the first day of this pre-season test, Hamilton left skid marks on the pit-lane after his gleaming Mercedes failed on him, and he plunged into the tyre wall at the first turn.
Deja vu? Hamilton’s new car ploughs into the barrier, a similar thing happened on day one of testing last year
Safe and sound: Hamilton emerges from his Mercedes unscathed, although his pride may have been damaged
Back to the garage: Engineers set about returning Hamilton’s brand new Mercedes to the pits
CASE OF DEJU VU LEWIS?
Lewis Hamilton also crashed out on his first day of testing with Mercedes last year.
The British driver lost control and careered into a tyre wall just 15 laps into his first session in Jerez.
According to eye witnesses, debris was strewn along the straight. It was estimated Hamilton was travelling at 160mph when his machinery disintegrated.
‘Front-wing failure,’ confirmed Mercedes spokesman Bradley Lord, soon after a truck had transported the damaged chassis back to the team’s spanner collection. ‘The cause is being investigated.’
Off track! Hamilton’s Mercedes skid marks can be seen heading towards the barrier
Road recovery: Hamilton’s new car is removed from the track for the problem to be investigated
Quick clean up: Mercedes staff collect parts of the car left at the crash site
Debris: What appears to be the failed right wing is left on the track
That was Hamilton’s 18th and inescapably final lap of the day. Mercedes’ ‘Keep Fighting’ message to Michael Schumacher, who lies in a coma after a skiing accident at the end of last year, was seen no more.
Uninjured himself, Hamilton spoke later, looking downbeat. He periodically displays this countenance, not always for a reason that is obvious. Perhaps the car was not as good as he had hoped, perhaps he was annoyed to be sitting out the session. Who knows? His answers were unrevealing.
To the chagrin of his team, the headline news was Hamilton’s smash, whereas, in fact, their car was encouragingly the first to run and, despite the setback, they completed more laps than any rival bar Ferrari, for whom Kimi Raikkonen was the quickest performer of the day.
It was a day of very limited running: the teams combined completed just 93 laps, compared to 657 on the equivalent day last year.
Reliability problems? Mercedes have blamed Hamilton’s crash on a ‘front wing failure’
Test drive: Hamilton takes his new car for a spin on the Spanish circuit as he gears up for a championship challenge
In the spotlight: Hamilton poses for the cameras before heading out on to the circuit
McLaren and Marussia did not turn a wheel in anger, and Red Bull’s world champion Sebastian Vettel managed just three laps as dusk fell, none of them timed, after ‘a silly mistake’ delayed their progress.
Fitting the new powertrains, complete with their mind-bending energy recovery systems, was clearly proving a tricky task for all concerned. McLaren, who suffered an electrical problem, are rotating shifts of workers through the dark of night. Cups of coffee and bags of nuts are at the ready.
But, on the upside, the significant change in rules mean that Formula One is at the cutting-edge of technology again, where it belongs. Other than the lack of action, there were two major debating points here.
Leading the way: The returning Kimi Raikkonen was fastest on the opening day of winter testing
The first was over the shape of the new noses. Ugly, say some, but do they really frighten the horses? I think we’ll become accustomed to them in time.
More concerning was the view of Adrian Newey, Red Bull’s design guru, who thinks that the lower snouts could be dangerous. He said: ‘Cars now can effectively “submarine”. If you hit the back of a car square on then you go underneath and you end up with a rear crash structure in your face.’
The second debate was over the sound of the new engines: loud or enough or not? Nobody drove flat out on Tuesday so we did not get the full answer, but, still, they are definitely quieter (as was inevitable because sound energy is now being recycled rather than emitted as a banshee scream as it was on the old 2.4litres petrol engines).
The result is a resonant growl in a lower register. There is a hint of an old, chain smoker’s throaty rasp to it. I prefer the new ‘music’ and it is undoubtedly less injurious to one’s eardrums.
Source : Daily Mail