The first practice session for this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix has been cancelled after a loose drain cover wrecked George Russell’s Williams.
Russell, competing in just his fourth GP, sustained serious damage to his car after dislodging the drain cover at high speed.
The running was first red-flagged, before it was cancelled with staff out on the track to clear the debris.
All 320 drain covers on the track have to be checked before free practice can resume.
You can watch a video of the incident below…
The incident will raise serious safety concerns ahead of Sunday’s race.
“I got the biggest smack through my body, and the whole engine turned off,” Russell told Sky Sports as he described the alarming incident.
“It’s ruined the floor and I’m a bit worried for the chassis now. We were on the normal racing line and it’s completely ruined our session. It’s not what we need at this stage.”
To make matters worse for Williams, the recovery crane carrying Russell’s car back to the pits collided with a temporary footbridge which runs over the track.
The damaged crane then started leaking hydraulic fluid over Russell’s Williams.
Claire Williams, deputy team principal for the British constructor, told Sky Sports: “It’s clearly not what we want and it’s not what you expect from a Formula One track. These drain covers are supposed to be bolted down.”