Azerbaijan GP first practice cancelled after loose drain cover destroys Williams auto

Penalized Ricciardo apologizes for Kvyat collision	
				Image by Glenn Dunbar  LAT

"It's ruined the floor and I'm a bit anxious for the chassis now".

"It was just on the normal racing line and has ruined my session".

F1 chiefs made a decision to ABANDON the P1 session in order to carry out safety checks around the Baku circuit, where more than 300 manhole covers needed to be looked over.

In more farcical scenes, the mobile crane truck carrying Russell's stricken Williams back to the pits then hit the underside of a sponsor hoarding spanning the track, leaking hydraulic fluid onto the vehicle.

"I think that when you send a vehicle out on a race track that you should have the understanding that your auto is not going to be damaged by that race track in that way", an angered Williams told Autosport.

Russell, competing in just his fourth grands prix, ran over the manhole cover at high speed, and sustained significant damage to his Williams. With safety checks needed on all of the circuit's drain covers, the session was cancelled altogether.

There are thought to be 300 manhole covers around the circuit.

The governing body ordered an immediate check of all the drain covers around Baku's street circuit but no issues were found, allowing Friday's afternoon schedule to proceed normally.

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"The auto has got a lot of damage", Williams said. "That's just not acceptable".

Russell was out on the Baku street-circuit as he looked to lay down a marker for the weekend ahead when his vehicle hit a loose manhole cover. "It's not what we need at this stage".

The incident subsequently took a freaky turn when the recovery vehicle struck a bridge on its way back to the pits and began dousing its cargo in what appeared to be hydraulic fluid.

"It's clearly not what we want and it's not what you expect from a Formula One track". "Oh well, just gives me extra time to catch up on Game of Thrones".

Neither Hamilton or Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas had recorded a lap before the incident, which occured after 13 minutes of the 90 allocated for the session.

Playing on the Baku City Circuit's promotional slogan from its first race in 2016, Daniel Ricciardo posted a sarcastic tweet as the repairs took place on track.

The British driver escaped unhurt after running over the cover between Turns Two and Three in Practice One, but his FW42 required a chassis change and had its floor destroyed.

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