Hamilton Unhurt in Valencia Mishap

By: Anthony Fontanelle

Lewis Hamilton, the sensational rookie this season, experienced the downside of Formula One when he interrupted Mclaren's private test session at Valencia with a high speed crash. Luckily, the Formula One championship leader climbed out of the car unhurt.

Hamilton braked late and speared into the tyre wall at Sainte Devote, the first turn at the end of the pit straight, with half an hour remaining of the afternoon session punctuated by crashes on the metal-fenced streets of Monte Carlo. Hamilton, 22, who leads the drivers' championship, has an unbeaten record at Monaco after his previous visits in GP2 and F3 cars. But in Thursday, he was one of five drivers to crash.

"Everyone makes mistakes, and I'm only human I lost the back end, tried to brake too quick, but went off into the wall," Hamilton told reporters. "I just locked the rear wheels, and just as it came before the apex I lost the back end, tried to brake too quick, but went off into the wall."

"This is a mistake that all drivers make; I'd rather it was in a practice session where he is finding the limits of the car than in a qualifying where it takes a penalty on the grid or hampers his race," said Ron Dennis, the McLaren boss. "Finding the limit at this circuit is challenging for any driver. I'd rather not have a bent racing car but in the circumstances we're pretty comfortable with his contribution to the season. He's got a few brownie points still in hand."

"Lewis is uninjured. However the MP4-22 he was driving is badly damaged and will not be repairable in Valencia for Lewis to continue his test programme tomorrow," the McLaren said. "The cause of the accident is being investigated."

"I hope he wins a race before too long but it isn't right to describe him as favorite for Monaco," said the competition director for McLaren's works engine partner.

"He has been exceptional already to be second three times in a row. He has had fantastic races (in Monaco) in the past. He is a street racer. He likes those types of tracks. But now the focus is maybe on him too much," Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug said of Hamilton's season.

Hamilton, the youngest driver to lead the world championship, was still the third fastest driver, behind team mate Fernando Alonso and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen - both former Monaco winners. With Hamilton out of the action, double World Champion Alonso will continue his familiarization session at the Spanish circuit. Alonso was quickest in both sessions and the only driver to lap in under 1min16. His best lap in the afternoon was 1min15.940 after running 1min16.973 in the morning.

The Monaco race, one of the most famous in Formula One, is making enthusiasts anticipate for the best action that could make them forget about BMW distributor cap and other concerns.

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