Azerbaijan GP practice cancelled after manhole cover incident

Ferrari F1 driver Sebastian Vettel

Williams will try to fix Russell's auto in time for second practice at 14:00 BST but deputy team principal said there were concerns that the survival cell in which the driver sits could be damaged.

"I got the biggest smack through my body and the whole engine turned off", he told Sky Sports as he described the alarming incident.

"It's a really great track and it's one that I've honestly struggled at a little bit, particularly previous year", Hamilton said. With safety checks needed on all of the circuit's drain covers, the session was cancelled altogether. He was unhurt, but with more than 300 similar drain covers around the circuit, the race stewards elected to abandon the session to ensure they were all welded down in position.

"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.

"It was just on the normal racing line and has ruined my session". Team principal Guenther Steiner claimed the damage bill totaled £500,000 ($645,000), and Haas was able to recover money via an insurance claim against the Sepang circuit. "That's just not acceptable".

When the auto was eventually recovered to the pit-lane and was lowered back to the race track, it was clear to see extensive damage to the floor of the vehicle.

Some estimates put the likely cost to Williams of the damage at more than half a million dollars.

"It's not what you expect from a Formula 1 track".

After the recovery vehicle struck the bridge, the world feed showed several Williams mechanics shaking their heads in the pit-lane. "The chassis is split, and we have to revert to chassis 03". "Oh well, just gives me extra time to catch up on Game of Thrones".

Ferrari's two drivers were the only ones to set a time, with Charles Leclerc ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, first and second in the championship after three consecutive one-twos at the start of the season, did not even go out for an installation lap.

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.

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