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Lucky Q1 escape for spinning Hamilton
16 March 2013
Lewis Hamilton could well have been sitting on the sidelines on Saturday evening in the extended hiatus between qualifying sessions, after being one of the first drivers to fall foul of a waterlogged Albert Park circuit in Q1 ahead of the 2013 F1 Australian Grand Prix.
Hamilton spun his Mercedes at the exit of turn 2, which sent the back end of the car around resulting in impact with the tyre barrier. That could have damaged the rear wing of the car and forced him to lose time in the pit lane getting repairs, but instead the driver determined that no serious harm had been done by the light tap and he was able to carry on.
"It was pretty straightforward really, I just lost the back end and was in the wall," explained Hamilton.
The biggest scare for the Briton was when he tried to get back underway. His right side wheels were on the sodden grass verge, and when he tried pulling away the wheels were unable to gain traction and it appeared as though he might be completely stuck in a dangerous spot on the track.
"Fortunately I got going again. I was beached actually, I was stuck and luckily I put it in reverse and reversed half way up the bloody track!" he said. In fact he moved only a few feet in the wrong direction before getting the wheels off the grass and getting back underway.
Hamilton went on to set the tenth fastest time in the session, comfortably putting him through to Q2 - which, because of the rain, will now not be held until Sunday morning at 11am local time (midnight GMT).
His team mate Nico Rosberg topped the times on Saturday with a lap of 1:43.380s, two seconds faster than Hamilton thanks to the rapidly changing conditions and evolving drier line on the Melbourne track.
"It's incredibly tricky," Hamilton said. "Probably one of the slipperiest circuits that I've raced on in the rain, simply because there's a lot of white lines everywhere that are painted black. As soon as you hit those, the car slides and aquaplanes and oversteers. That's why you saw so many people going off."
But now Hamilton can put all that behind him and focus on a new start on Sunday.
"I can dust those kind of things off and keep looking forward to tomorrow," he said, not at all concerned by having qualifying intrude on the build up to the Grand Prix on race day itself.
"I don't think it compromises the race - if anything it's better because you get a bit of a warm-up," he said. "Your body should be more energised and ready for the race, so it should be interesting.
"But I really hope it's a dry day," he added. "Today has been incredibly difficult for everyone!"
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