Lewis Hamilton had a forgettable debut for Mercedes at Jerez, despite going quickly while on track, he only lasted 15 laps before brake failure saw him end up in the wall, after which he lamented the lack of grip in the Silver Arrows compared to the McLaren he drove last year.
On his first official day of running after switching from McLaren for 2013, the British driver skidded over the gravel at full speed and thumped into the barriers head-first.
“If I had turned the car around, the whole side of the car would have been broken,” the Briton is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.
Actually, according to Bild newspaper, only the front wing was smashed. Asked if he saw a positive from Wednesday’s brief running, Hamilton smiled: “Yes — I’m alive.”
Dedicated yes, but the 2008 world champion confessed to being “disappointed”, particularly after the W04’s debut on Tuesday was marred by Nico Rosberg’s fire.
“The team have to go and look at the design and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” said Hamilton, “but I have total confidence they will do that.”
The breakages are one thing, but Hamilton said the W04 also needs more pace, “I need more aero for sure. Coming from a McLaren that had incredible downforce, you definitely notice the difference.”
After the crash, he spent some time trackside, being impressed by his 2013 rivals. “The Red Bull and the Lotus look good,” he said.
“We were looking at the computer and seeing other people doing 70 or 80 laps and we should be doing the same. What’s happened is disappointing for all of us in the team because everyone has worked so hard over the winter, admitted Hamilton.
Rosberg returns to the car on Thursday with Hamilton on duty during the final day on Friday.
“We just need to hammer it and try to get as many laps as possible,” he said. “If we can get 110 to 120 laps per day then that would be a good comeback. You have got to keep looking forward and remain positive. Better now than at the last test at Barcelona. That would really suck.”
The team’s newly appointed chairman Niki Lauda told Auto Motor und Sport, “This is really annoying. Yesterday [Tuesday] we lost almost the whole day of testing, today again …” (GMM & Apex)