Lewis Hamilton's crash in practice for the Monaco GP on Thursday was no big deal, that's the verdict of McLaren-Mercedes team boss, Ron Dennis, who added that the rookie still has a far few 'brownie points' in hand.

Hamilton, who comes into this event leading the world championship, following four podium finishes in succession, went off towards the end of the second practice session, when he made a mistake at Sainte Devote. Despite missing the final 30 minutes of the session though, he finished the day third fastest overall, less than four tenths off his team-mate, Fernando Alonso, who set the pace in both sessions.

Asked about the incident, Dennis explained: "Lewis lost some time this morning because a bearing in the starter motor failed and there was a part of that bearing that was blocking the hole in the back of the gearbox. To put in an undamaged start motor, we had to take the floor of the car off to get to that.

"That sort of put him in a situation where he had not tried the option tyre this morning, stayed all the time on prime tyres in the early part of the session. I think that in the back of his mind, having two sets of options to try, I think he just got a little bit enthusiastic, entered the corner a little bit quicker on his first lap on that tyre and had a bit of a moment.

"This is a mistake that all drivers make at all standards. This isn't anything I will ever give any criticism to. I would rather it would be in a practice session where he's finding the limits of the car than in qualifying where he takes a penalty on the grid or hampers his race.

"Finding the limit at this circuit is a bit challenging for any driver. I would rather not have a bent racing car but I think, in the circumstances, we're pretty comfortable with his contribution to this year's season. He's got a few brownie points still in hand!"

Asked if he was glad Lewis has got this mistake out of the way, Dennis noted that it is was not 'some sort of stone around his neck, that he was waiting to lose'.

"It's immaterial, it's not his first mistake, he made one in testing and at the end of the day, this is completely normal," Ron continued. "Competitive drivers who are pushing hard, finding the limits, they are going to make mistakes.

"It's not the first and it's not going to be the last. Obviously, you don't like to see racing cars bent but I think it's a small problem when taking into consideration all the benefits that having him and Fernando in the team give us."

 

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