Lewis Hamilton has described difficult conditions after nosing his Mercedes into the barriers in a rain-hit practice session at the Canadian Grand Prix.
The Briton topped the times in both 90-minute free practice outings, but ended his afternoon with heavy front end damage to his W06 after finding there was no grip approaching the hairpin after Mercedes sent both drivers out onto a wet track when most other teams were contemplating packing up for the day.
The team later claimed that they were hoping to practice starts, but had been caught out by an escalation in the intensity of the rain, but that came as little consolation for the world champion, who skated through the braking zone and run-off area before making contact with the tyre barrier.
“It was just ice!” Hamilton said of the conditions, before confirming with some relief that damage had been limited to the front wing of his car.
Having finished four-tenths clear of team-mate Nico Rosberg in the morning session, despite a rotation at the same hairpin, Hamilton held a similar advantage over Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in the second outing before rain appeared with just under an hour to run. Mercedes were the only team to return to the track under wet conditions, but quickly curtailed its involvement after Hamilton's off underlined just how tricky things had become.
“It wasn't my call to go out, and we – collectively – don't think that it was the best call to go out, but it didn't affect our running,” the Briton confirmed, “It's still been a good day. The car is feeling good out there, really good, [and] I feel good this weekend. I think Ferrari have picked up the pace, which will be interesting tomorrow, but I feel good in the car, very much the same as the last race.”