Lewis Hamilton crashes out of Brazilian GP qualifying (VIDEO)


It’s a good thing that Lewis Hamilton wrapped the 2017 Formula 1 World Championship last time out in Mexico City, because the Englishman appeared to make a rare unforced error during Q1 of qualifying for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix (LIVE on NBC Sports App; re-airs at 9:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Hamilton lost the back end of his Mercedes chassis at the right-hand Ferradura corner, the back end snapping and him crashing into the tire barriers on the left-hand side of the car.

The Interlagos circuit had endured a bout of rain before the start of qualifying, but had dried out enough in advance.

Nonetheless, with the sporting regulations stipulating that any driver whose car stops on track during the session can’t restart, Hamilton is now out of the pole running and will face a fightback from the rear of the field for Sunday’s race. The bottom of the grid figured to be jumbled anyway with grid penalties for power unit component issues, and adds another unexpected figure after Hamilton’s smash.

Hamilton was introspective but said “he made this one for himself” when speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton.

“(I’m) not quite sure exactly but I guess so. I don’t really have much to say,” he said. “All I can say is the challenges… are really what make life interesting. I think I set this one for myself. I’ll do the best I can to recover from it. Recovering from challenges makes life meaningful. Not the greatest of days but I’ll keep my head up.

“I’m not currently relishing it, but I’ll figure out my way through.”

Coverage of the race begins at 10 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN, with pre-race, then lights out at 11 a.m. ET.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.