Vettel struggles, Hamilton wrecks in day one of testing

Jerez, Spain ( - Four-time defending world champion Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton endured a rough start in Formula One preseason testing on Tuesday in Jerez.

On the first day of testing, which featured just six drivers who posted times, Hamilton crashed midway through the session when he suffered front wing failure on his F1 W05 car, causing him to slam into the barrier in turn 1. He did not return to the track for the remainder of the day. Mercedes unveiled its car for the 2014 season just prior to the start of the session.

"We had a small hiccup, but we'll bounce back from it, and hopefully, it's the first of very few for us," Hamilton said. "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."

Hamilton, entering his second season with Mercedes, was the first driver on track in the morning. The 2008 F1 titleholder completed 18 laps and had the quickest lap time of 1 minute, 27.820 seconds before his incident.

"We had done the most laps of anyone up to that point," Hamilton added. "Seeing how few cars have been going out on the track today shows just how big an achievement our morning work had been."

Vettel, who won the last nine grand prix of the 2013 season, placing him in a tie with Alberto Ascari for most consecutive victories in F1, did not get out on track until 15 minutes remaining in the session, making only three laps. Red Bull showcased its RB10 earlier in the day.

Red Bull as well as all other F1 teams struggled to get their cars out of the garage during day one in Jerez. Teams are having difficulties in getting familiar with the new F1 technical regulations this season, including a revised engine. A 1.6-liter V6 turbocharged engine is replacing the previous 2.4-liter V8 motor.

"It's a big change for all the teams, including ourselves, so it's difficult to have any sort of expectations," Vettel said. "The most important thing, once we get going, is to understand the car and hopefully build on that. Therefore, expectations are fairly low, but once you realize you have a good car, hopefully, you want to make sure you race in the same area that you did in recent years."

Kimi Raikkonen, who returns to Ferrari this season, topped the time charts. Raikkonen, in Ferrari's F14 T, completed the most laps with 31 and surpassed Hamilton's quickest time late in the session with a lap in 1:27.104.

"Overall, we can say it was a good start," said Raikkonen, who drove for Lotus the past two seasons. "We have a solid base from which to work over the coming days."

It was a relatively quiet day of testing in Jerez, with eight drivers/teams combining for a total of 93 laps. McLaren, with driver Jenson Button, experienced electrical problems with its MP4-29 throughout the day and did not make any laps.

"The car was predominantly affected by electrical issues during the day," McLaren said in a statement. "The subsequent dismantling, inspection and re- installation of several major components ultimately meant we were unable to conduct any running today.

"We're re-installing key systems on the car overnight, with the expectation that Jenson will begin the car's installation program [on Wednesday]."

Teams will continue to test in Jerez through Friday. The next round of F1 preseason testing is scheduled for Feb. 19-22 in Sakhir, Bahrain.