AZERBAIJAN GP – First practice abandoned after George Russell runs over drain cover

Testing & Race Reports

Ferrari was the only team to set a time in the first practice session for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Charles Leclerc was two tenths faster than his teammate Sebastian Vettel.

The session was red flagged twenty minutes into the session after the Williams of George Russell ran over a loose drain cover. The Englishman was on his out lap when his car pulled up the drain cover between Turns Three and Four.

It appears as Leclerc dislodged the cover which sent the Englishman into the air, shedding debris all over the circuit. Explaining what happened, Russell told Sky Sports, “I just hit it and got the biggest smack through my body. I was just going down the straight on my normal line.”

The cancellation of the session could mix up the rest of the weekend as teams are unlikely to gather data.

The stewards are now assessing and check all other drains were properly welded down around the 6km circuit, officials permanently red-flagged the session with barely any running completed.

It is believed there are three hundred manhole covers around the circuit and that could be a long process.

It wasn’t the only drama, as when the car was recovered the truck bring the car back to the pits made contact with a bridge and was damaged, spilling liquid onto the F1 car sat on its flatbed.

All teams but Mercedes had completed at least an installation lap in the first 10 minutes of FP1, while the two Ferrari drivers were the only ones to set timed laps.

Leclerc recorded the fastest time on the medium tyre, a 47.597s, two seconds quicker than teammate Sebastian Vettel.

It is unlikely that FP2 will be extended by an hour as sunset is at 19:30 local time just an hour after the session is due to finish an hour before.



Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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