Slideshow: Hamilton escapes crash unhurt

PUBLISHED: 16:45 04 April 2008 | UPDATED: 22:05 26 October 2009

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LEWIS Hamilton escaped serious injury after crashing in today s practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix. The 23-year-old McLaren Mercedes driver ran off the track and into a tyre wall during the second session ahead of Sunday s race at the Bahrain Internation

Lewis Hamilton

LEWIS Hamilton escaped serious injury after crashing in today's practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The 23-year-old McLaren Mercedes driver ran off the track and into a tyre wall during the second session ahead of Sunday's race at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Towards the end of the afternoon session Lewis touched a kerb and lost control of his car and went into the barrier.

Fortunately, the Tewin race hero wasn't badly hurt in the accident at the Sakhir track.

He had a precautionary check at the medical centre but said he was OK afterwards.

"It was a shame that I ended what had been a productive day going off the circuit and hitting the barriers at turn seven," said Hamilton.

"I was just pushing and sometimes these things happen.

"I am absolutely fine, and hopefully the damage to the car is not too bad.

"We would have had to change our engine and gearbox anyway, so hopefully I am not going to be too unpopular with the boys in the garage."

It wasn't the greatest of days for Hamilton out in the Middle East though, as the Ferrari duo of Felipe Massa and reigning champion Kimi Raikkonen dominated the time sheets.

World Championship leader Hamilton was fourth fastest in both sessions and well off the pace.

He said: "In the first session we stayed on the same set of tyres throughout.

"I flatspotted one of them early on but, as it was only practice one, we chose to save a set of tyres.

"However, we monitored the vibrations closely to make sure that they didn't cause any damage to the car.

"The circuit was obviously very dirty and continued to evolve throughout both sessions."

McLaren team bosses played down Hamilton's prang into the tyre wall.

Team principal Ron Dennis said: "Apart from Lewis's off towards the end of the second session, a good start to our Bahrain Grand Prix weekend.

"The track continued to improve throughout both sessions and we gathered a lot of data.

"As Bahrain is one of the most demanding circuits on brakes we monitored and evaluated our brake performance throughout.

"We experienced no problems and look forward to the rest of the weekend."

Mercedes-Benz Motorsport vice president Norberg Haug added: "We completed our preparation programme for Saturday and Sunday and the times in race trim are not looking bad.

"Lewis's crash luckily was not too hard. His team now have a lot of work ahead before Saturday, but they will manage."

Qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix takes place tomorrow (Saturday) lunchtime.

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