Practice abandoned after drain cover wrecks Williams auto

Azerbaijan GP: F1 car damaged after driving over dislodged manhole cover

The British driver, in his debut F1 season, was driving at high speed when his auto hit the cover, which had become loose, sending debris flying across the track.

The session lasted just 12 minutes before the Briton ran over the loose manhole plate, which sliced through his floor and caused substantial damage to his auto.

The incident subsequently took a weird 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.

The damaged crane then started leaking hydraulic fluid over Russell's Williams.

"I just hit it and got the biggest smack through my body", Russell explained to Sky Sports afterwards.

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. "I was just going down the straight on my normal line". "I've never seen that before".

"We need to see the exact amount of damage and exactly how much that costs putting it back through manufacturing".

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She said: "It's clear from the data and what everyone can see that there is a lot of damage to the floor of the vehicle and who knows what else".

Haas were awarded an undisclosed amount after Romain Grosjean's vehicle ran over a loose drain cover in practice for the 2017 Malaysian GP, increasing the prospect of Williams getting reimbursed.

Russell won at the Baku street circuit a year ago on his way to the Formula Two title but Kubica has never raced there before and Williams need all the track time they can get. "That's not what Formula 1 tracks should be".

Similar incidents have happened before at street circuits, including a pit lane drain cover damaging Valtteri Bottas' Williams in Baku in 2016.

The session remained suspended while race control inspected the offending drain cover and the remainder was canceled shortly afterward to allow for a full inspection of the circuit's other manholes, which Renault tweeted number over 300.

Lewis Hamilton clearly wasn't impressed the manhole cover wasn't checked, but was happy to make the most of the time off.

They say they welded the drain covers but obviously that one was far from welded today. "Oh well, just gives me extra time to catch up on Game of Thrones".

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