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Manhole issues see FP1 brought to an early end

NEWS STORY
26/04/2019

While many were predicting that Baku's recent form in terms of "unpredictability" and "incident filled" races would mean a thrilling Azerbaijan Grand Prix following the tedium of Shanghai, those unpredictable incidents came a lot earlier than expected.

Just over fifteen minutes into the opening session, George Russell ground to a halt after something happened at the rear of his car causing debris to be thrown into the air.

It was subsequently revealed that the Briton had run over a manhole cover which had been loosened by another car, said cover causing extensive damage to the rear of the Williams.

"I just hit it, the biggest shock went through my body," said Russell. "The whole engine just turned off, it's ruined the floor. It was on the normal racing line and has ruined my session. Not what we need at this stage but just one of those things."

As Claire Williams revealed significant damage to the car and that she will be looking for answers from the organisers, there was further drama as the low-loader carrying the damaged Williams back to the pits hit the underside of a bridge. As the truck arrived back in the pitlane, oil from the crane was seen pouring on to the FW42 beneath.

As marshals began to inspect the other manholes around the circuit, of which there are thought to be more than 300, race control announced that the session would not be re-started.

At the time the session was stopped, just two drivers had posted times, the Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc.

While work on the manhole covers continued, Williams revealed that whatever happens in terms of FP2, Russell will play no further part.

"Owing to the damage caused by the loose drain cover, (George's) car will require a chassis change and therefore, due to regulations, he will not be able to run until FP3 tomorrow."

Check out our Friday gallery from Baku, here.

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1. Posted by klmn, 26/04/2019 11:05

"29 years after Canada it still happens ...what a shame"

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