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Hamilton safe after high-speed qualifying shunt - updated 21 Jul 2007

The McLaren Mercedes MP4/22 of Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren is returned to the pits on a truck after his big qualifying accident.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Saturday, 21 July 2007 Ron Dennis (GBR) McLaren Team Principal and the fit and well Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Saturday, 21 July 2007

Championship leader expected to race on Sunday

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton escaped serious injury after crashing out of the final phase of qualifying at the Nurburgring on Saturday.

Hamilton suffered a right-front wheel failure at Turn Eight, his car bouncing over the gravel trap before impacting hard with the tyre wall.

The championship leader was seen moving his legs in the cockpit immediately afterwards, and extracted himself partly from the cockpit, to a standing position within the car, before receiving medical attention at the scene. He then waved and gave a thumbs-up to fans as he was taken by stretcher to the medical centre.

McLaren subsequently confirmed that Hamilton sustained no serious injuries, broken bones or bruising, and that he did not lose consciousness during the crash. The Englishman was taken to Koblenz Bundeswehr Hospital for a precautionary CT scan, which proved to be entirely normal.

As is normal, Hamilton will require a final sign-off by FIA Medical Delegate Gary Hartstein on Sunday morning before he is allowed to race. McLaren expect the outcome of this to be positive.

The cause of the accident was a problem with the airgun used on the right front wheel during the pit stop immediately prior to the incident. The wheelnut could not be fitted properly and a second gun was needed to cure the problem. However, the wheel was subsequently still able to move enough to generate sufficient damage to cause it to fail.

The qualifying session was red flagged for around 30 minutes as the damaged McLaren was recovered, and repairs were made to the conveyor belt round the tyre wall.

Assuming he does race, Hamilton will start from tenth on the grid with the same fuel load as he started qualifying with.