BRITISH racer Lewis Hamilton put on a brave face yesterday after suffering a crash during Formula One pre-season testing in Spain for the second year running.
Hamilton escaped unhurt after hurtling across the gravel and into barriers as he put his 2014-specification Mercedes through its paces for the first time in Jerez.
It came 12 months after a 170mph prang at the same track, yet the former world champion was pleased with his first outing of the year, having posted the fastest lap before the accident.
“Apart from the ending it has been a positive day,” he said. “After a tough winter for everyone, to be the first car on track and to do the most laps up until when we finished at least was a huge positive step for us. This is testing, and you are going to have hiccups. We will overcome that. We have a great team here.”
Hamilton managed 18 laps before the crash, which caused damage to the right front wheel and suspension and brought the team’s day of testing to a premature end.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen later beat Hamilton’s time during a 31-lap run, though he was one of only six drivers to record a lap time as many teams treated their new cars with caution.
Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel completed just three laps in his Red Bull – one of 10 teams currently in southern Spain preparing for the season’s first race in March. Besides Mercedes and Red Bull, Ferrari, Toro Rosso, Sauber, Williams and Force India all debuted their cars, which conform to new rules affecting engine and aerodynamic design.
McLaren did not succeed in running their 2014 model due to electronic and hydraulic problems, while Marussia are not due to test until Thursday as their car remained in Britain for final tweaks.