Twin black streaks of scorched tire rubber at the end of the
Jerez pit straight marked the asphalt where the 2008 world champion
had locked up and careered into the tire wall.
Mercedes blamed a car failure, on the Briton's 18th lap of the day,
for the crash and were investigating. Witnesses said the front wing
appeared to break off.
Hamilton also crashed last year in his first test for Mercedes after
moving from McLaren, whose car had yet to break cover on a
remarkably quiet Tuesday with all teams grappling with the new power
By lunchtime only Hamilton and Toro Rosso's Frenchman Jean-Eric
Vergne had set timed laps and only five cars had been seen in
One of them was Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari, that brought out the first
red flag of the day when it stopped out on the circuit early on.
With a thin new moon still visible over the circuit, Hamilton eased
the sleek looking F1 W05 out of the pitlane shortly after 0900 local
(0800 GMT) for an installation lap before silence resumed.
Formula One has ditched the ear-splitting 2.4 liter V8 engines for a
new turbocharged 1.6 liter V6 with complex energy recovery systems
and more emphasis on fuel economy.
Hamilton's opening lap, the first public appearance of a new car on
track, indicated the whinier and less rasping sound would take some
getting used to.
Mercedes, who carried out a private 40 km shakedown at Silverstone
with Germany's Nico Rosberg on Friday, presented the car in the
pitlane shortly after dawn with champions Red Bull taking the wraps
off their RB 10 challenger minutes later.
More than four hours after the test started, Red Bull's quadruple
world champion Sebastian Vettel had still to appear on track as the
team worked on an unspecified problem that had emerged overnight.
"Obviously the car is still extremely new and still being completed
as we speak, and I think there was just a small setup issue that the
guys want to have correct before we go out on track," principal
Christian Horner told reporters.
"Hopefully that will be in the very near future."
[to top of second column]
Hamilton, in his second season with the team and now with the chosen
number 44 on his car, said before getting down to work that his car
"So aggressive but full of really nice details as well. I'm excited
to find out how the new power unit feels to drive, to hear how it
sounds from the cockpit and to compare the job we have done relative
to the competition," he added.
"I think this is probably the season with the most unknowns that I
have faced in my career and that's just so exciting for all of us."
While some of the new cars have been startling in appearance, with
eye-catching protruding 'noses' to meet new regulations dictated by
safety considerations, the top two teams from 2013 came up with
"The new car is an elegant but aggressive design and, as is often
the way, it's beauty is much more than skin deep," commented
Mercedes technical executive director Paddy Lowe.
"The internal engineering of the car is extremely innovative and
Ten of the 11 teams — all but Lotus — are in Jerez for the test but
tail-enders Marussia and Caterham hit early problems.
Marussia's car was still on its way to Jerez after being delayed at
the factory by what team principal John Booth called a "small but
frustrating teething problem".
Malaysian-owned Caterham delayed their car presentation due,
according to their Twitter feed, to "some last minute issues bolting
"The trials and tribulations of a completely new car have conspired
against us today," they added.
(Editing by John O'Brien/Sudipto Ganguly)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.