Lewis Hamilton crashes new Mercedes on his first day behind the wheel

Briton had completed just 15 laps with his new team when incident occurred

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The Independent Online

Everyone is eager to impress on their first day of work and 2008 Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton will have been no different when he got behind the wheel of a Mercedes for the first time since switching from McLaren.

But things could not have gone worse for Hamilton today when after just 32 minutes and 15 laps driving the Mercedes F1 W04 car, the British driver crashed into the barriers.

The Briton's car careered in a straight line across the gravel runoff at the Jerez circuit and nose first into the tyre wall at turn six, the Dry Sack corner.

The car was slowed by the gravel but the wheel tracks indicated Hamilton had been a mere passenger with no response from the steering as it went off the track.

Hamilton walked away from the car, appearing unhurt.

The day had started well for Hamilton, with the 28-year-old posting the second fastest time with a best lap of one minute 19.519 seconds when he brought out the red flags.

Testing in Jerez has not been going well for Mercedes, who yesterday saw the car of Hamilton's team-mate Nico Rosberg burst into flames. The German driver had completed 14 laps before problems with the car's electrics left him stranded on the track with flames flaring around the rear of the vehicle.

The 2013 season starts with the Australia Grand Prix on March 17.