JULY 21, 2007
Hamilton has a big one
Lewis Hamilton had a sizeable accident in the final minutes of qualifying for the European Grand Prix when his McLaren suffered a tyre or wheel failure on the right front at the high-speed Turn 8. The World Championship leader was going for pole when the crash occurred and had set the fastest time in the first sector.
The car skipped across the gravel trap and hit the tyre barrier square on, with almost no deflection at all. The car coming to rest at the point of impact. Hamilton was moving his legs in the cockpit and was able to get himself half-out of the car but was clearly shaken up by the crash, perhaps from having been winded in the impact. The damage to the chassis does not suggest that the suspension went into the cockpit.
The medical teams put him into a surgical collar, which is quite normal given that the crash will have been a high-G impact. Lewis waved and gave the thumbs up sign as the stretcher was being loaded into an ambulance.
The impact was such that the conveyor belt that is wrapped around the tyre stacks was ripped and needed to be replaced.
According to first reports on German radio, the team said that the problem was caused by a faulty tyre gun which had not doing up the wheelnut properly. This caused vibrations which resulted in the wheel breaking.
This is yet to be officially confirmed.
Hamilton is conscious, talking and is now in the medical centre to assess the damage.
The session was restarted after 33 minutes.
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