On the opening day of the pre-season test at the Circuito de Jerez yesterday, Nico Rosberg managed just 14 laps before an electrical fault caused a small fire, which required a replacement of the wiring loom.

Taking up the reins from Rosberg yesterday the 28-year-old, who quit McLaren at the end of last season and signed a three-year deal with Mercedes, was also left a spectator for the remainder of the day less than two hours into the session.

Hamilton’s car suffered a rear-brake failure, later traced to the hydraulic brake line connecting to the right-rear caliper. It resulted in the 28-year-old locking up at the turn-six hairpin known as ‘Dry Sack’ at 170mph before ploughing through a wide expanse of gravel and eventually pushing his front wing into a tyre barrier.

Team Mercedes later said on Twitter: “We will not run again today as work continues with the repairs required on the car.”