Hamilton unhurt in testing crash

Lewis Hamilton’s first day of pre-season testing ended with the 29-year-old putting his Mercedes into a barrier at Jerez for the second successive year.

Twelve months ago, on his testing debut for the team following his move from McLaren, Hamilton’s car suffered a rear-brake failure.

That resulted in Hamilton locking up at the turn-six hairpin known as ’Dry Sack’ at 170mph before ploughing through a wide expanse of gravel and eventually pushing his front wing into a tyre barrier.

On this occasion, just four hours after Mercedes unveiled arguably the best-looking car to date given the plethora of differing nose designs, the finger of suspicion points to a front-wing failure.

It was proving to be a productive day for Mercedes, with the Brackley -based team the only one to produce a reasonable number of laps given the complications surrounding the cars for this year.

Hamilton had managed 18, with the majority of those install laps to check over systems and diagnostics, prior to the incident occurring in the early afternoon.

Heading down the start-finish straight, the suggestion is the wing broke and went underneath Hamilton’s car.

That resulted in him locking up again as two heavy black lines can be seen on the circuit leading up to the gravel at turn one where the Briton then hit a barrier front on, sending him spinning sideways.

Hamilton emerged unscathed from his car, shortly after which the team tweeted: “A car failure for Lewis put him off at turn one. Cause to be investigated when car returns to the garage.”

On a day when the new power units in F1 were revealed, with 1.6-litre V6 turbos replacing the the 2.4-litre V8s, it has been a day of woes for virtually all of the teams.

Marussia announced on Monday they would not be running on Tuesday due to a late technical issue with their car.

Caterham were due for a rollout of their challenger just before the test session started at 9am local time, only to postpone due to their own technical problem.

Reigning world champions Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel sat in the garage throughout the morning after what chief technical officer Adrian Newey described as “a silly problem overnight”.

Kimi Raikkonen barely made it halfway through his opening lap on his return with Ferrari when he was forced to grind to a halt.

Halway through the opening day just 35 laps had been completed, with 18 of those from Hamilton.

Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne had managed 11, with Raikkonen and the Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez three and two respectively, with Sergio Perez for Force India just one.

At that stage there had been no sign of the Red Bull, Jenson Button in his McLaren, Valtteri Bottas for Williams, and Caterham rookie Marcus Ericsson.

Lotus are the only team not present at this test, opting to launch at the second test in Bahrain next month.

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