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

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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.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.