Formula One’s first practice session in Azerbaijan was cancelled after British driver George Russell dramatically collided with a loose drain cover.
Russell, competing in just his fourth grands prix, ran over the manhole cover at high speed, and sustained significant damage to his Williams.
Russell, 21, immediately pulled over to the side of the temporary track which runs through Baku. He was unharmed but the session, just 10 minutes old, was hastily red-flagged. A marshal attempted to stamp the drain cover down before the running was cancelled. To add insult to injury, the recovery crane carrying Russell’s Williams back to the pits then farcically collided with a temporary pedestrian bridge running over the circuit.
The damaged crane began leaking hydraulic oil over Russell’s car leaving the mechanics at Williams with a hefty repair job.
But the alarming incident will naturally raise safety concerns ahead of Sunday’s race here.
The second practice session is due to get begin at 5pm local time (2pm UK).