According to the Mercedes AMG team, the crash was due to car’s front wing failing. You can see in the video above, which was uploaded to YouTube by user Jean Tang (via WTF1), that some debris had fallen from the car prior to it running into a barrier.
The crash brought to an end what had been a relatively successful day for the Mercedes AMG team. Hamilton’s best time of 1:27.820 set the early pace at the Jerez Circuit, before the front wing failure on lap 18. And it was still the second-fastest time of the day.
Later, it was Kimi Räikkönen with the fastest time, having managed a 1:27.104 in his new Ferrari F14 T at the end of a 31-lap stint. Williams' Valtteri Bottas ended the day with the third-fastest time, despite completing just seven laps as he debuted the team's new FW36.
Many other teams got off to a poor start yesterday, with Lotus and Marussia not even having a car present. The last we heard is that Marussia’s new car, the MR03, is on its way. McLaren and reigning world champion Red Bull Racing didn’t start until very late in the day.