Hamilton crashes in test debut for Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton's first day of Formula One preseason testing at Jerez came to an early conclusion on Wednesday when he crashed his Mercedes F1 W04 car due to a loss of rear brake pressure.

Hamilton, who left McLaren and joined Mercedes at the end of the 2012 F1 season, completed 15 laps around the Spanish circuit before his incident. The front brakes allowed him to slow the car, but he could not avoid the tire barrier in the Dry Sac hairpin. Mercedes traced the problem to the hydraulic brake line connecting to the right-rear caliper. The 2008 world champion did not return to the track for the remainder of the day, as his team had to repair several areas of the car.

"We had a good start, but then unfortunately, we had a failure which brought our day to an early end," Hamilton said. "These things happen, and it's all part of testing."

During the first day of testing on Tuesday at Jerez, Hamilton's teammate, Nico Rosberg, encountered an electrical problem after completing just three runs. Unburned fuel in the exhausts subsequently ignited but did not cause any serious damage to the car. Rosberg completed just 14 laps that day.

Romain Grosjean of Lotus posted the quickest time during day two of testing at Jerez. Grosjean turned in 95 laps, with his best one recorded in 1 minute, 18.218 seconds. His lap was 0.6 seconds faster than yesterday's top time, set by Jenson Button from McLaren.

"It was good today," Grosjean said. "The program went to plan and showed we have good reliability. The whole test has gone well for me. We've done some interesting things and some less interesting things, but it all bodes well for the season ahead. My feeling in the car is good, and it was great to be at the top of the times today. Even if it doesn't mean anything at the moment, it's still good to be at the front."

Force India's Paul di Resta was second on the time charts (1:19.003), followed by Daniel Ricciardo from Toro Rosso (1:19.134), Red Bull's Mark Webber (1:19.338) and Nico Hulkenberg from Sauber (1:19.502). Hulkenberg completed the most laps on day two with 99.

Hamilton's quickest lap of 1:19.519 was sixth on the charts.

"From the few short laps that I completed this morning, my general feeling was very positive," Hamilton noted. "I got a good understanding of where the base of the car is, and while we need to do work in certain areas, it was good to have some laps to get a feel for what those areas are."

Testing at Jerez continues on Thursday, with three-time world champion Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull and Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 F1 titleholder, making their first appearances on track.