The chase is on
Shanghai 2018
Chinese Grand Prix
Hamilton crashes Mercedes after 15 laps, rear brakes at fault
Posted By: James Allen  |  06 Feb 2013   |  11:40 am GMT  |  158 comments

The troubled start to Mercedes’ testing season continued on Day 2 in Jerez, as new recruit Lewis Hamilton crashed in the F1W04 after just 15 laps in the car in the morning session, due to a brake problem.

The team was unable to get the car back out on track before the end of the day.

Mercedes issued a Tweet saying, “Lewis suffered a loss of rear brake pressure, the front brakes enabled him to slow the car but he couldn’t avoid the barrier. We have traced the problem to the hydraulic brake line connecting to the right-rear calliper.”

This follows a fire on the car yesterday caused by an electrical fault, which cut short Nico Rosberg’s test day. The Mercedes has completed just 29 laps so far, at the time of writing, compared to 127 for Force India.

However, the first tests are typically for sorting out niggles and reliability issues on the car and it’s not uncommon for the first test to be punctuated by red flag stoppages for accidents and break downs. Yesterday Marussia’s Max Chilton went off when something broke in the rear suspension.

It gets more serious if teams lose time in the second and particularly the third tests. Damaging a front wing in the final test is a real setback, for example, as there isn’t much time to make new ones before the freight leaves for Melbourne. So teams sometimes find themselves short of key spare parts at the first race if they’ve had a crash in the final test.

The BBC’s Garry Anderson witnessed Hamilton’s incident and reported on BBC Sport website, “Hamilton locked his brakes going into the hairpin and went across the gravel trap and into the tyre barrier. The car has front wing and front suspension damage.”

Featured News
Editor's Picks
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

This team needs more Directors. A Director of Brakes, and a Director of Electrics, would be a good start.


This is all very familiar, no?

When Lewis first joined McLaren in 2007, he had a huge crash as well in the first test. Turned out to be a very successful year for him 🙂

So best of luck to Lewis!


Lewis will be hounded again and again for good or for worse, very unfair. What will they say about his new 20 million dollars private jet?

He had purples on sect 2 and 3 in the Autosport live reports which is no surprise.

Isn’t it better to let whatever that can fail now, instead of the first race. That’s why they call it testing.


I guess it is indeed a good thing that they’re having these failures early on in the testing sessions, rather than closer to or during the first race weekend.

The problem for Merc at the moment IMO is that they’re not having smaller faults that they can fix up and get back out later in the session. Or some aero oddities that aren’t quite matching up with what they expected. They’re running a dozen or so laps and then being written off for the rest of the day. They’re losing huge amounts of running sitting in the garage. They might fix up the first problem, then fix up this brake problem, get out the next day and encounter another terminal problem, once again not really giving them the running they need to at least make sure the car can go the distance (let alone gather enough aero data, tyre data, etc.).


Rosberg did 148 laps for Merc today.

I believe thats an ALL time testing record for number of laps done in a day.

If Jenson had not red flagged the session with another break down today, Nico could well have topped 150 – 160 laps today.


Yeah, good to see the ran far more reliably and were able to make up for some lost ground. Hopefully it’s the last of their reliability problems. It’d be a shame if they had a quick car with two good drivers, only to be brought down again and again like Schumi early 2012.


+1 to JA F1 – informative headline (not sensationalist like some sites). Although judging by some comments it seems some people couldn’t read past ‘Hamilton crashes…’.


Hamilton and his fans will soon realize that going to Mercedes was one of the dumbest moves an F1 driver ever made in the sport.

You think Schumacher, 7 times world champion, was just playing around in that team? [mod]


I wonder what the benefit of this dark soothsaying fad is?

When 2015 or 2016, we can begin to decide if his move was dumb or not. Its not smart to draw immovable, concrete, cast in iron conclusions before then.

F1 is a highly technical sport that can take twists, turns and corkscrews even in a single season as engineering teams square up with innovation and counter innovation. Its not something to predict or bet on.


Not with Team Honda, 2009 was a fluke.

Tornillo Amarillo

Mercedes appears to have HRT-esque failures, but wait, it’s only the start of the season and not the end of a team that face extintion, so I guess the Best should come sooner than later, hopefully.


They should sack an executive director for each car failure in testing. That way, when they leave jerez at the end of the week they should have the right number of executive directors on the plane home…. And hopefully for Lewis’ sake the one left is a certain mr brawn.

rob in victoria bc

I heard Roscoe was taking a nap down around the pedals and got in the way.


Will all those using this as an excuse to stick the knife in please get a grip, it’s the 2nd day of testing. Testing being something you do to find the faults so you can correct them.

It’s no biggie, and for the record I’m not particularly a Hamilton, or Merc fan.


I have a feeling that Mercedes is going to make good this year. I don’t think Hamilton is so stupid that he did not study his prospect closely before deserting a top team for a hitherto struggling one. With Mercedes’ enormous technical resources and knowhow, I doubt if the company will want to tolerate another season with its name down with the also-runs. The drastic removal of Haug shows their new commitment.


Mercedes bought the Brawn team because they liked the idea of the RRA.

MSC himself said over the winter, that the budget the team has is not sufficient to win in F1.

Rumours have already circulated about different investors being sought to buy into the team, it seems Mercedes is planning a get out from F1


Better to start with a fast car that’s unreliable, than a reliable one that’s slow.


Usually true – but Alonso beat Hamilton last year – he had the slow but reliable Ferrari, whilst Hamilton had the fast but disaster prone McLaren…


True-but Lewis has already stated he does not think he will be a serious championship contender. If you are not in the hunt for the championship the next best thing is podiums/winning. So better to have a fast car capable of winning when the opportunity presents itself even if it has a few DNF’s.


What I said was it was better to START with a fast car. It’s easy to improve reliability over time, although that does seem a problem for some, but if you have a slow car it’s not so easy to improve at the rate needed to catch up, overtake, and then recover the points you have lost.


Well, you say that, but look at who did better last year – Ferrari or McLaren?

And, last year Mercedes had speed, but reliability cost them one or two potential podiums…


It was only the fronts that locked up not the rears, so those who STILL think it was Hamilton’s bad, get a grip. I saw a clip of the incident.


if there is a rear brake problem then the fronts will ALWAYS lock up


Yes I know, there was a post or 2 saying lewis locked up so it’s his mistake. I was trying to point out its an obvious equipment failure as only the fronts locked and the rears didn’t. You and I know this but others seem to have missed the issue.


The fronts locking without the rears locking isn’t a definite rear brake failure though. Certainly it’s what will happen if the rears have failed and everything goes to the front, but the fronts locking isn’t exclusively a rear brake problem.

That said, at least it was a rear brake failure and not a front brake failure. Locking the fronts and understeering off the track into a wall might suck, but it’s no doubt preferable to locking the rears and being thrown straight off the track sideways at high speed.



one has to think about the procedures they are using at Mercedes.

Issues with the wiring loom and brake line to the caliper (if Mercedes told the truth, of course) are relatively straightforward and should have been ironed out during factory testing – instead of loosing them 2 valuable track days.

This is in stark contrast with the reliability even the “minor” teams are demonstrating during this test.


I suspect that the W04 was such a massive rework of the W03 that they didn’t have time to sort out all of the “little” issues.

It gives a bit more credence to the idea that this is a completely different car than the W03.

Unfortunately, the bottom line is whereas the Red Bull has done 174 laps, and Lotus has 149, Mercedes has done 26. For a new car, that’s bad.


When you are doing 300k heading for a barrier with no brakes the “little issue” is what is running down your leg.


Yeah, he slowed it own quite a bit. Europe 2007 or Spain 2010, or Spa 2011, were far worse crashes.



thankfully the speed before the accident was that big and he wasn’t hurt. I know the cars are built to absorb/dissapate the energy of a crash but I always keep my fingers crossed when seeing an F1 spearing straight into a crash barrier.

alastair emmerson

Why is most folk writing the merc off already just because of what’s happened the last few seasons. Merc have showed great pace especially last year, schumi was qualifying pretty high up in quite a few races, and of course china, Monaco. If they dont do well they don’t do well simple, but now they have changed a few things in the team why can’t they compete for wins or titles this year and keep up with the others.


Yeah.. Clearly the Merc is “on fire” and “unstoppable”.


WOW, you really know how to play with words but it is only first week of testing.


Whilst disappointing for all to see a mechanical failure in the Mercedes it must be very encouraging to see Lewis pull a 1.19 after only a few timed laps in a new team / car.

Talk about conspiracy theories- how many anti Hamilton people out there- I bet just as many as actual fans. The team says the rear left brake failed as he locked the fronts from a long way back – yet we’ve already seen many driver fault posts- even if that was the case-he was hired to push that team forward – they got alot work to do and nows the time to be finding the cars limits isn’t it.

I think Lewis will win more than 1 race this year. I also think Mercedes will be better at developing the car this year. They have 4 technical geniuses in that team now and alot more funding than previously- I don’t think they will be wanting in the development race. It should be a great year even for the development of 2014 car.


Who knows. LH did say it was an “easy” time to do, so there could be more there. But you never really know.

Mercedes have to get better in the development stakes. That kinda stuff you can’t just turn on, on command, if you haven’t been known for it prior to then.

Regarding the tech people, did I read that right that Newey’s on £10m a year, while Lowe’s on £500k??? That is some discrepancy! Anyone got a reasonably sourced list of what various key F1 team personnel are pulling down?


yeah I read somewhere that Lowe was on around 600K. But didnt hear the Adrian Newey amount-worth every pence!.

Understand they might not be champions and it does take time to turn a team around and I think this year will be the start of it.

But the answer to all this nonsense is BUDGET restrictions, people..If you can pay a guru GBP10M and another team cant keep a driver (Kobayashi, Kovalianen, etc) unless he brings that amount- surely theres is something wrong in the “sport”.

Val from montreal

First a fire and now brakes … Mercedes-Brackley have to be the worst “top” team in recent memory …. They had 3 years with the greatest of them all and still could’nt cut it. … But it’s going to be alright now , because James Allen has been 3 times to their factory and Hamilton sees their HUNGER !!


Correction, they had 3 years with statistically the greatest of them all and still couldn’t cut it because they didn’t have bespoke tyres, endless testing and a decent design chief in the team…

Val from montreal

I thought we were friends ! You can call me by my full name : Valentino ….. Anyways forgive my ignorance but what is a bespoke tire ? Go ask Bridgestone if they regret their decision of backing Schumacher and Ferrari … 2006 F1 Racing’s back cover had a BIG thank you from Bridgestone to Michael Schumacher … Yes the greatest of them all and also the fastest ! But don’t take my word for it but instead the word from 2 ex F1 drivers who actually raced against him ; Prost and Brundle (1995 ) … AP : ” I regarded him more as I regarded Senna . He is always competetive and very rarely does anything silly .” … Martin Brundle : ” I realised he had a special talent and there was no point blowing my brains out over it. I have felt for some time he is the fastest out there and, even before Senna died , I was convinced that, in terms of raw speed, he was . The guy is awesome . ” ….So Hero , dont be mad at Schumacher just because he was able to beat your hero in a less faster car ; ie 1994 … Its not Schumacher’s fault that Senna spun out in Brazil while trying to catch the superiour German … Let bygones be bygones , will ya !!


Val, be very careful on who you choose to quote, it can hide certain agendas.
Prost was proven by the bluray Senna film to be a [mod]. The case in point,which the film makers used,was when he said he hadn’t gone to the stewards after Suzuka 1989, yet there he was sat in the office, talking to Balestre and co whilst the race was still running and immediately afterwards. His silence during that interview when he was reminded of his actions was illuminating. That’s history now anyway.
Brundle made these comments regarding his 1992 season with MSC. he was also referring to the “passing of the mantel” from Senna to MSC as the fastest in the world. It happens in every generation, it happened to MSC when Alonso came along.

Re: Bridgestone saying thanks. Are you kidding? Why wouldn’t they? The guy was supreme on their products.
Don’t misunderstand, I was grateful too, for everything he brought to Ferrari, as in the success, the mind blowing victories, the relentless pursuit of success and the excellence of the whole squad.
But every yin has its yang, and the arrogance of the whole outfit with controversies, Malaysia 1999, Silverstone 1998, Monaco 2006, Jerez 1997 and others that escape me at the moment, but maybe the worse demonstration of misunderstanding the public was Austria 2002. Barrichello had beaten him in the dominant car yet Todt and MSC wanted the win. His reaction on that podium was that of a spoilt child caught out.
Statistically he’s the greatest, but when professionals are asked opinions its Senna that they call the greatest. That also includes Brundle on the Top Gear special. James recently made comment that Senna was the best he’s ever seen.
I think that comes down to the fact that Senna beat Prost, a recognised great

I don’t like the pattern I’m seeing recently where Alonso, Vettel and co are demanding who their team mate is, that’s why I really do raise my hat to Button. I was one of the doubters in 2010 thinking Lewis would destroy him, yet there he is number 1 at Mclaren


26 laps in total over two days! At least the car has pace out of the box. They just need to get in enough laps to set the car up properly and start adding the new parts for Australia. It seems that Mercedes will be a contender this season.


Thank you James. The reports are coming in nice and quick, like breads in a bakery early in the morning.

And the bread is good.

And the fellow customers are fun to chat with.


Didn’t Lewis have an off in his first official test as a McLaren driver as well? I’m sure he mentioned that in his interview on Top Gear a few years ago.

Coincidence? Erm…. yeah, probably.


He definitely binned it in 2009. I think that was down to a gust of wind (if I recall). Admittedly that was a dog of a McLaren at winter testing.


With that method of thinking, goferet would surmise,

Alonso and Hamilton will fight the WDC down to the wire and Kimi will nick it by a point..


Bad news for Button as well. McLaren will back their quick but inexperienced youngster over their former World Champion, leading to Button quitting to join the team with which he won his World Championship, Brawn GP. Which will obviously be re-formed for 2014 when Ross Brawn is replaced by Paddy Lowe at Mercedes.

It’s all so simple when you look at it…..


Rumour spreading as usual are we posters? Good work James by the way.


Lots of bar room speculation here, very little evidence based discussion. It’s like being in church.


they don’t have bar rooms in church…


my bar IS my church!

Tornillo Amarillo

Just a table and wine.


Ha, been mixing my similes not my drinks. Of course, here in Wales, the pub, rugby club, and chapel are often the same thing, or seem so after a few pints.


Mercedes is just like Wales in the Six Nations.

Great performance both of them so far. Don´t you agree?

Sorry I couldn´t help it



I tend to think that one cant have full confidence in the car or properly know its limits unless one has crashed the thing. Especially with a new car and team.


Yes, why not? Go and buy yourself a brand new Bentley and crash it everyday. That looks like a brilliant idea,does it? And if you break your leg or your ribs that´s even a better feeling.

Aaaaghh!!! Some of you are really amazing



some have higher testosterone levels than IQ..


Yes, and can read.


That’s exactly my philosophy when buying new road cars. I can’t get insured anymore…


LOL!!!!! Classic!


If he locked up the brakes it was Hamiltons fault. Of course you would expect Mercedes to cover up for their new aquisition. He said so himself in the past that locking up the brakes is a career long problem of him.


Do you even understand when a lockup happens? I din’t expect anything else, going by your screen name…

In this case, he had to lock his front as the rears had failed.


Imagine your a Formula 1 team principal and you’ve just spent many millions of dollars on building a new car, spent every waking hour ensuring it was all put together in time for the first, of only a handful of crucial time limited tests. Do you really think you would then sacrifice a full days testing to save your driver a tiny bit of embarrassment.

The front damage is (apparently) negligible, therefore we can only conclude the work being done now is on the issue which caused the accident, or perhaps they are just pretending its broken.


James you are very clear in your wording throughout, I think maybe the real anti-Hamilton’s will jump on your back for saying he crashed! If a car on the road has rear brake failure and hits a wall, it will be deemed a crash, as is Hamiltons incident.

Mercedes looking very promising.

Top Tags
JA ON F1 In association with...
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer

Sign up to receive the latest F1 News & Updates direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!