The 43-year-old German, a seven-time world champion, said he misjudged the entrance to the Spoon curve before sliding across the run-off area and ploughing into the barrier, losing his front wing.
It was a tough break for the seven-time world champion, who will also have to contend with a 10-place grid penalty imposed after a crash at the last race in Singapore. “Basically, I went a bit wide on the entry to turn 13 and I guess I touched the grass and lost control for that reason,” he said.
“At that moment you are already focussing on the entry for the corner so you sort of lose the vision to the outside, especially with our low seat position you don’t always have perfect vision. I made a mistake there and lost control.”