LEWIS HAMILTON’S horror start to the 2022 Formula One season continued with a nightmare first lap at the Spanish Grand Prix.
The seven-time F1 world champion, 37, suffered a punctured tyre following a collision with Kevin Magnussen just seconds into the race.
Hamilton and the Haas racer touched coming into turn four, with the Dane sent into the gravel.
Magnussen quickly used his radio to blame Hamilton, saying: “Lewis just rammed me. He knew what he was doing.”
However, the collision appeared to be a “racing incident” with neither to blame – with the Brit suffering a puncture in the process.
Both racers dragged their cars around the track and into the pits, with Hamilton – who dropped down to 19th – and his Mercedes team opting for soft tyres.
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However, Hamilton incredibly urged the team to QUIT the race.
Speaking over the radio, he claimed: “I would save this engine if I was you, guys. I’m sorry.”
However, Hamilton was told there were still points up for grabs and to continue racing by his team.
Hamilton had been hoping for a blistering start in Catalunya having qualified in sixth as his struggles with the new Mercedes continued.
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But the first-lap collision saw his entire race go up in flames, with the team forced into an early change of strategy – while also struggling with a desperately slow pit-stop following the puncture.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, Jennie Gow said: “Hamilton started on those medium tyres, a new set… it’s thrown his strategy into total disarray.
“He is in the pits he’s really struggling, they are putting him on another set of the soft tyres but it’s a really slow stop.
“A disappointing start as you say the luck this year isn’t going his way.”
Meanwhile, Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate George Russell did get out of the blocks quickly.
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Russell, who qualified fourth, gained an early place to break into the podium places early doors.
He moved up to second shortly after, too, as Max Verstappen made a rare blunder by sliding into the gravel – again on the fourth corner of the track.