Belgian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton in heavy crash in final practise ahead of qualifying

Lewis Hamilton suffered a heavy crash in final practice for the Belgian Grand Prix.

The defending Formula 1 world champion and current championship leader lost control of his Mercedes at high speed before slamming head-on into the barriers.

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Lewis Hamilton’s battered car is lifted from the track in Belgium
AFP or licensors

“I am in the wall, guys,” said Hamilton over the team radio. “Sorry.”

The British star emerged from the crash unscathed, but suffered extensive damage to the front of his battered car.

Mercedes mechanics will now face a race against time to get his car ready for qualifying, which begins at 2pm BST on Saturday, but the German team said they are hopeful everything will be fixed in time for Hamilton to compete.

A Mercedes spokesman said: “We will be replacing both front corners [suspension and wheel assemblies], nose, barge boards and floor.

“Barring nasty surprises, we can complete all of the work in time.”

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Lewis Hamilton walks away uninjured from his heavy crash at Spa
AFP or licensors

The main fear for Mercedes is possible damage to the gear box, as replacing it before the race would incur a five-place grid penalty.

Reacting to Hamilton’s crash, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff added: “Hopefully it’s not the engine or the gear box, and it doesn’t look too bad at the moment.

“I think if I would run around and panic like a headless chicken it wouldn’t be good for the guys fixing the car so we need to be calm.”

In Hamilton’s absence, Ferrari continued their domination of the weekend in Spa-Francorchamps, with Charles Leclerc fastest.

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Ferrari’s Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc looks in good shape ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix
AFP

The impressive 23-year-old man from Monaco finished nearly half-a-second clear of his team-mate Sebastian Vettel, while Valtteri Bottas was third for Mercedes, 0.497 seconds off the pace.

Ferrari have a golden opportunity for claim their first race win this year, with their one-two finish to practise making them favourites for pole position.

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