Lewis Hamilton has a "great feeling" for the W04 despite debut crash at Jerez test
Lewis positive on new car despite early accident
By Pete Gill. Last Updated: February 7, 2013 9:06am
Lewis Hamilton has put a brave face on the "pretty heavy" crash which limited his running to just 15 laps on his testing debut at Jerez for Mercedes.
Having just climbed to second in the timesheets, Hamilton's maiden run in the W04 was brought to a shuddering halt when rear brake failure resulted in his car slamming into the barriers at the high-speed turn six.
Although Hamilton was unhurt, the car was sufficiently damaged to prevent him returning to action for the rest of the day - leaving both driver and car critically short of mileage after team-mate Nico Rosberg was also only able to complete 14 laps on Tuesday due to an unrelated electrical fault.
"We had a failure with one of the brake pipes and so when I hit the brakes they didn't work and I just went straight on," Lewis told Sky Sports News. "It was pretty heavy but it wasn't as bad as I have had in the past.
"I'm not fazed at all - I'm just glad that I'm safe and that it has happened now rather than during the season."
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Despite the frustration of having his participation so severely curtailed, Hamilton also offered a positive first impression of a car which has looked pacey during its brief time on track in Southern Spain.
"I only had fourteen laps, and six of those were installations, but I got a run on the new tyres and had a great feeling for the car. I've been able to give the team quite a lot of feedback despite it only being a short run," added Hamilton.
"I'm quite happy with it and I think we have a good foundation. The [fastest lap] was pretty easy, there was definitely more in it."
Nonetheless, Mercedes' lack of running was put into sharp focus by the smooth progress of World Champions Red Bull as Mark Webber completed more than one hundred laps while pace-setter Romain Grosjean recorded 95 in the impressive E21 - more than three times the combined total of Rosberg and Hamilton over the opening two days of the test.
The 2008 World Champion, though, is refusing to panic.
"This is what testing is all about. Of course it's disappointing for the team after working so hard over the winter and we didn't anticipate this. But I'm glad we've got it out of the way now," he said.
"We've got lots of tyres, now we have to be first out tomorrow morning and if we can get 110 or 120 laps then that would be a good fightback.
"There's a long way to go until Melbourne."
Hamilton's next outing is on Friday for the fourth and final day of the test, while Rosberg will be behind the wheel of the W04 on Thursday.