Hamilton’s practice lasts just five minutes due to problem (VIDEO)

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He may have been touted by many as the favorite for this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, but Lewis Hamilton’s race weekend got off to a disastrous start as his Mercedes W05 car ground to a halt after just five minutes of practice.

The Briton, who enjoyed a fine testing period ahead of the race weekend, was one of the first drivers to exit the pits at the start of the session. A new rule for 2014 sees drivers given a bonus set of tires that can only be used during the first 30 minutes of the session, meaning that many took advantage of this to get out early and post a lap time.

However, whilst completing his installation lap, Hamilton’s car came to a halt because of an oil pressure sensor problem. He was forced to stop his car on the exit of turn ten, bringing out waved yellow flags and requiring a crane to carry the Mercedes away.

Although the team did make efforts to get the car back to the pits, Hamilton eventually changed out of his race suit and was forced to sit out for the remainder of the session.

Interestingly, when walking back to the pits, Hamilton kept his helmet on and refused to talk to the media. However, a security official tried to get the driver to present his paddock pass, but he was quickly brushed aside.

Hamilton will be hoping to make up for lost time during the second free practice session, which is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 1:30am ET.

Rebellion confirms LMP1 return, all-star line-up for WEC super season

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Rebellion Racing has confirmed it will return to the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2018/19 ‘super season’ with an all-star line-up featuring Le Mans winners Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer.

Rebellion raced in LMP1 as a privateer between 2009 and 2016 before stepping down to LMP2 for the most recent season, capturing the class titles at the first attempt.

Following a push from the WEC and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) to make LMP1 more appealing to privateer teams, Rebellion announced on Wednesday it would return to the premier class for the 2018/19 season with a two-car effort.

WEC LMP2 champion Bruno Senna will return with Rebellion next year, as will Mathias Beche, with the pair set to be joined by four new faces.

The most notable arrivals are Porsche factory drivers Lotterer and Jani, both of whom were left without an LMP1 drive following the closure of the German manufacturer’s program at the end of the season.

American racer Gustavo Menezes will also join Rebellion, stepping up after two years in LMP2, while outstanding 2017 rookie Thomas Laurent completes the Swiss team’s line-up.

“I am looking forward to coming back where my endurance career started nine years ago,” said Jani.

“Rebellion Racing played a huge role in my career and also helped me become a factory driver for Porsche. When Porsche stopped in LMP1, it was clear for me that I wanted to race again for Rebellion.

“With the new regulations, I hope we can reach the overall podium at Le Mans and with a bit of luck, maybe we can even grab some wins during the super season of WEC.”

“I am very happy to join the champion Rebellion team,” added three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer.

“The LMP1 project is very exciting and to be able to go on with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA WEC challenge is something I did not want to miss.

“I am motivated and looking forward to have a great time with great people there.”