Mercedes’ tricky start to the season continued on the second morning of pre-season testing when Lewis Hamilton spun on a quick lap in the new W12, beaching it in the gravel.
The spin at Turn 13 brought out the red flag, as Hamilton lost the rear of the car and had to be retrieved, adding to their woes in Bahrain International Circuit.
Speaking on Sky Sports F1, commentator and former driver Martin brundle said: “It’s so unusual to see Lewis looking at a stricken car these days.”
“But he’s not exactly the only driver to be flying off the road today.”
Meanwhile, also on Sky Sports F1, former driver Karun Chandhok said: “It’s really rare to see a mistake from Lewis, especially at testing. I’m trying to think of all the pre-season tests I’ve been to in the last five, six years and I can’t think of one time he has been in the gravel.
“You see the odd thing where he goes off in the run-off area or something – but everyone does that. To see him cause a red flag, I can’t think of a moment like that.”
Speaking after day one, after gearbox issues, Hamilton said he felt for his team-mate Valtteri Bottas, after he only managed six laps in the W12.
“Today definitely wasn’t the cleanest of days that we’ve had but these things are sent to try u “Everyone has worked extremely hard to get us here. We had that mishap in the morning which was very unfortunate for Valtteri in terms of losing time on track and the team is working hard to try and understand what that was. I think they did a great job to turn the car around.
“The second session wasn’t without its challenges, but we exist to find solutions to the problems we’re faced with. We just had a good debrief and we’ll keep working away,” Hamilton continued.
“I’ve never seen a sandstorm come through here before in all the years that I’ve driven at this circuit. The sand was moving like rain would move. Having sand on the tyres isn’t good for their longevity and getting consistency on long runs is difficult. Over a single lap it isn’t the worst, but you need lots of laps at this time of year to get data.
“We have no choice but to take the positives. I remember in 2007 during testing I had 10 days in the car and now it’s getting less and less. We only have a day and a half in the car before the first race, with different tyres and different aero modifications so it’s not easy but it’s the same for everyone. I’d like to think my nine years’ experience with this team will help me get the best out of it.”
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