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Motorsport | Formula 1

Hamilton crashes in German GP qualifying

Lewis Hamilton suffered a huge setback to his German Grand Prix hopes on Saturday when the Formula One title contender crashed his Mercedes in qualifying after a brake failure.

The team confirmed the car's right front brake disc had failed in the initial phase of the session at their home circuit.

Qualifying had to be halted for nine minutes after the crash, which happened within sight of the Mercedes Grandstand at the Stadium complex.

Hamilton had been second fastest when his front left wheel locked up, while a puff of smoke could be seen from the right side.

The car spun sideways and into the tyre wall on a blisteringly hot afternoon with track temperatures of 56 degrees Celsius.

Hamilton, who is four points behind championship leading teammate Nico Rosberg in the overall standings at the halfway point in the season, stepped out of the car and went to the medical centre for checks.

The team reported the driver, whose lap time meant he was likely to qualify 16th for Sunday's race, was "OK but sore from the crash".

"I'm OK. I hit the brakes and something...the brakes failed," Hamilton had said over the car radio.

Rosberg was fastest in the first two parts of qualifying and looking likely to start on pole.

The crash continues a run of bad luck for 2008 champion Hamilton, who has retired from two races this season while Rosberg suffered his first blank in Britain two weeks ago.

Hamilton won that race at Silverstone, despite making a big error in qualifying when he thought he had done enough for pole only to see others go faster in the final seconds, to slash Rosberg's lead from 29 points to four.


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