Mercedes F1 driver Hamilton listens to a guest outside his team hospitality suite in the paddock ahead of the Singapore F1 Grand Prix

Hamilton calls today’s testing crash “a small hiccup” (VIDEO)


Mercedes driver and former World Champion Lewis Hamilton kept things positive after his Turn One crash today during Formula One testing at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.

Hamilton suffered a front-wing failure on the new Mercedes W05 before sliding off the track, through a gravel trap and into the tire barriers. He had completed 18 laps prior to the incident, which he took in stride.

“We had a small hiccup but we’ll bounce back from it and hopefully, it’s the first of very few for us,” he said in a team release. “When the car doesn’t stop under braking, it’s always a bit of a heart-in-the-mouth moment but I’ve had a few of those in my career so I’m used to it.

“Initially, I didn’t really know what happened; I braked but the car didn’t slow down and it’s always a little nervy in those moments. But I’m still walking and that’s the main thing.”

Other than the “hiccup,” Hamilton indicated he was pleased with the day overall.

“We had done the most laps of anyone up to [the accident] – and seeing how few cars have been going out on track today shows just how big an achievement our morning’s work had been – so I’m not concerned,” he said.

“Of course, the more running you do, the better placed you’ll be by the time you get to the first race, but to have already done this many laps in just half a day is a really good start.”

Multiple reports from Jerez say that Mercedes will be working overnight to find a wing solution in time for tomorrow, when Hamilton’s teammate, Nico Rosberg, is scheduled to jump in the W05.

“The car now needs to be repaired, which is a challenge in itself at the start of winter testing with regards to the number of spare parts available,” said Mercedes-Benz Motorsport head Toto Wolff. “However, it’s our job to cope with those challenges.”

In the meantime, a YouTube video has begun to go around that involves an at-track reporter from Spanish television network Antena 3 who wound up having the skidding Hamilton as an unexpected visitor. The footage appears to show the moment of the W05’s wing failure, followed by the British driver’s journey into the tires.

IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Gabby Chaves

Gabby Chaves
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MotorSportsTalk continues its run through the driver-by-driver field in the Verizon IndyCar Series. In 15th and the rookie-of-the-year for 2015, was Gabby Chaves.

Gabby Chaves, No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport Honda

  • 2014: Indy Lights champion
  • 2015: 15th Place, Best Finish 9th, Best Start 12th, 0 Top-5, 2 Top-10, 31 Laps Led, 19.3 Avg. Start, 14.4 Avg. Finish

Some drivers finish better than their performances show. Some drivers have performances better than their results show. The latter statement applied to Gabby Chaves in his rookie year, in what was an impressive first season after making the step up from Indy Lights, which deservedly earned him rookie-of-the-year honors.

The best comparison I’d make for Gabby is of Josef Newgarden in 2012 with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, a first-year driver on a single-car, newish team to the series.

Chaves rarely dazzled in qualifying but that wasn’t his fault; he and engineer John Dick worked well together and Chaves recounted multiple times this year that a tweak here or tweak there, the wrong way, on the aero kit would send them down the wrong setup path.

Results in races didn’t measure up either but again that was through almost no fault of his own. The only time Chaves looked truly like a rookie was at St. Pete, when he had several collisions. Otherwise he was ahead of eventual winner James Hinchcliffe at NOLA before getting punted off, reliable through the month of May in Indianapolis, finally able to break through for a ninth place in Detroit race two, overachieving in Texas, 11th at Milwaukee after some great wheel-to-wheel racing with series winners and champions, and then phenomenal at Pocono as he was on course for a first career win or podium before late-race engine issues – his first DNF of the season.

For both Chaves and Herta, you’d love to see them together for another season, and the results and confidence for both parties will grow as a result. Those who’ve seen Newgarden’s rise over four years with Fisher and now CFH will note the long-term stability, and that’s what Chaves could do if he gets the time.

He planted the seed of being a great IndyCar driver, and he became pretty versatile during the year too with additional appearances in the DeltaWing prototype, a short-track midget and one of Herta’s Red Bull Global Rallycross cars. To boot, he’s a smart, great kid who is mature beyond his years, and someone you should be buying stock in now. Anyone who saw Chaves in the Mazda Road to Indy should not have been surprised by his rookie season in the big cars.

Off The Grid: Monza preview (premieres Saturday 10/10 on NBCSN)

F1 Grand Prix of Italy
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Having already taken you behind the scenes in Barcelona, Budapest, Singapore, Melbourne and Silverstone, Will Buxton and Jason Swales now head to one of Formula 1’s most iconic venues for the latest episode of Off The Grid.

Monza has appeared in all but one F1 season since the formation of the world championship in 1950, and is a firm favorite among drivers, teams and fans alike.

However, there is far more to the Italian Grand Prix than meets the eye, as we find out in Saturday’s premiere of Off The Grid: Monza at 9:30am ET (follows Russian GP qualifying).

Having honed his talents in go-karts as a kid, Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo is now trying to pass on his knowledge to the next generation of racers. But can he teach Will or Jason a thing or two?

We also catch up with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and get a feel for life on the road as he takes us for a tour of his lavish bus in which he travels in for the European F1 races.

Have you ever wondered just how the suits F1 drivers wear are made? We go behind the scenes at Alpine Stars’ factory in Italy and find out.

Off The Grid: Monza premieres on Saturday at 9:30am ET on NBCSN following Russian GP qualifying.