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Loose drain cover halts FP1 after 15 minutes

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The first practice session at Baku ended up to be an eventful, but disappointing 90 minutes as an incident with a loose manhole cover stopped the session after just 15 minutes.

The incident occurred on the run between Turn 3 and 4 when the Williams of George Russell dislodged the drain cover which was subsequently sucked up before it slammed into the underside of the FW42’s, seriously damaging the Williams and leaving a trail of debris.

The session was immediately stopped, but action didn’t end, as the recovery truck’s crane hit a bridge after putting the stricken Williams on the flatbed. Hydraulic fluid from the damaged crane subsequently soaked the FW42, adding to the damage.

“I was just going down the straight on the normal line, hit a manhole cover and got the biggest smack in my boy,” Russell told Sky Sports back in the pitlane.

“The engine turned off, it ruined the floor and I’m worried for the chassis.”

Indeed, team principal Claire Williams later confirmed that the chassis was split, and the 03 chassis would be put in use for Russell. The team also noted it would seek amends with the organisers, given that the track had not been in the secure condition that teams expected.

The early stoppage meant there were just two times on the board, both from Ferrari, as everybody else had only completed a single installation lap.

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