Lewis Hamilton’s first activity as title holder kept going under two minutes — when he slammed off the Interlagos track at 160mph.
The accident brought qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix to a halt, as his car spun 90 degrees and hit the tire wall, damaging the front-left side of his Mercedes. The Rolex accumulating was removed and hung over the harmed skeleton. Tire elastic denoted his powerless way.
Hamilton radioed to the team, telling them he was OK and, after a pause, stepped out of the car. He moved freely and was not badly hurt.
The red flag was waved while his car was lifted clear. The session was postponed for eight minutes, previously Valtteri Bottas, in the other Mercedes, took pole. The Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen were second and third.
The incident happened less than 24 hours after members of Hamilton’s world-championship winning Mercedes team were robbed at gunpoint as they left the Interlagos circuit.
A minibus, transporting Mercedes staff back to their team hotel, was held up at 2200 local time on Friday night. One of the team had a gun held to their head, Hamilton said.
‘One minibus was robbed at gunpoint,’ a Mercedes spokesperson said. ‘valuables were stolen however everyone is sheltered and uninjured which is the primary concern.’
Jenson Button was ambushed by gunmen when he left the same track back in 2010.
Hamilton tweeted on Saturday morning: ‘Some of my team were held up at gunpoint last night leaving the circuit here in Brazil. Gunshots fired, gun held at one’s head.
‘This is so upsetting to hear. If it’s not too much trouble say a prayer for my folks who are here ‘ as professionals today even if shaken.’
Hamilton’s accident on the track was an especial blow for the Briton, who wrapped up the world title in Mexico a fortnight ago, because he had dominated Friday’s practice sessions.
Perhaps he was gotten out by the light rain that had fallen on the track in the hour paving the way to qualifying.
Technically, Hamilton will require special dispensation from the FIA to take part in Sunday’s race, having failed to set a time in qualifying. Yet, that correct will be gestured through, and he will begin from the back of the matrix.
Hamilton declined immediate TV interviews but later spoke to the media when he had gathered his thoughts.
‘I’m OK,’ he said. ‘It happened really quickly.
‘It is what it is. Of course, it’s unfortunate. I kept an eye an simply take it as a challenge to these things as difficulties are what makes life intriguing. Defeating them makes life significant.
‘I just need to take whatever bubble of negativity comes from that experience and move forward and try to grow from it.
‘It’s extremely bizarre from me (to commit this kind of error), yet it indicates we are on the whole human and things happen.
‘I will try to have as much fun as possible tomorrow. Years ago I came from quite far behind and had a great race.’
It was the first run through since Belgium in 2016 that Hamilton had not made it to out of the qualifying session.