Hamilton's first test hits problems

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The Independent Online

Lewis Hamilton endured a shaky opening to the Formula One testing session at Barcelona yesterday with his McLaren car stalling after only a couple of laps.

McLaren were one of 10 teams who sent out cars at the Circuit de Catalunya in what is the first test programme since the 2006 season was completed in Brazil in October. The Woking-based team had the dubious honour of being the first to hit problems as Hamilton's car stopped at the first corner with a suspected mechanical problem. However, the delay proved to be a short one with the 21-year-old sent back out soon after.

Honda's Jenson Button, who had been forced to skip the test to avoid aggravating his injured ribs, is still present in Barcelona overseeing proceedings.

Elsewhere Michael Schumacher will go back to his roots this weekend when he takes part in a 24-hour kart race on his own circuit. The seven-times Formula One champion, who retired at the end of last season, began his racing career as a kart driver in his hometown of Kerpen, near Cologne, in western Germany. The former Ferrari driver will lead one of 18 teams and a total of 280 drivers in the event.

Schumacher's successor at Ferrari, Kimi Raikkonen, is adamant he is under no pressure to succeed, despite following in such illustrious footsteps. "It's every driver's dream to sooner or later arrive at a top team like this one," he said. "But even if, in Ferrari, I'm taking the place of a legend, I don't feel any pressure."