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F1 sends messages of support to Michael Schumacher

Photo: Ker Robertson/Getty Images

Mercedes' new F1 car bears a message for racing legend Michael Schumacher, who remains in a coma.

JEREZ, Spain (AP) -- Both his former team Mercedes and the current Formula One world champion sent messages of support during Tuesday's preseason testing to German great Michael Schumacher as he continues in coma a month after a skiing accident.

Mercedes included a message for Schumacher on the side of its new Formula One car, while four-time defending champion Sebastian Vettel said he was praying for his friend and countryman.

Drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg unveiled Mercedes' silver-and-turquoise W05 before the first session of the preseason began at the Jerez track. The upper part of its chassis just behind the driver's seat carries the Twitter hashtag (hash)KeepFightingMichael.

Rosberg was Schumacher's teammate for three seasons before the seven-time world champion retired from F1 for a second time at the end of 2012.

"We want to show as a team that we are thinking of him and hoping for the best every day," said Rosberg, while Hamilton added that Schumacher's accident was "tragic."

Vettel, who drives for rival Red Bull, says that he "was as shocked as anyone else in the paddock."

"I have known him for a long time and have been looking up to him all my life," said Vettel. "I got to know him obviously when he did his comeback a little bit more and became his friend.

"It's horrible, especially for his family and close friends not knowing what's going to happen. In that regard, as I said, I'm still shocked as everyone and obviously I pray and hope a miracle will happen and he will come back and be the person he has always been before."

Schumacher suffered severe head injuries when he hit his head on a rock while skiing in the French Alps on Dec. 29 and has been in an induced coma since. He remains in a stable condition.

Preseason testing continues in southern Spain until Friday. The next tests will be held in Bahrain on Feb. 19-22 and Feb. 27-March 2. The season opens with the Australian Grand Prix on March 16.

MORE: Schumacher undergoing muscle training

Hamilton drives new Mercedes into barrier at tests

JEREZ, Spain (AP) -- Lewis Hamilton escaped unharmed after driving his new Mercedes into the barrier during Formula One's first preseason test session Tuesday.

The team said the crash was caused by a front wing failure.

Hamilton and teammate Nico Rosberg presented the Mercedes silver-and-turquoise W05 before testing began, and the former champion was the first to take his car out and the first to complete a full lap at the Jerez track.

Hamilton drove into the barrier at turn 1 midway through the session, leaving debris and long tire marks before he went off the asphalt.

So far, few drivers ventured out as teams struggled with new engineering rules that have caused them to revamp their cars.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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