What is it with Baku and absolutely ridiculous, unexpected things happening?
During FP1, George Russell was on the run down to Turn 3 when he hit a loose drain cover, ripping the floor off his Williams – the last thing a team that’s already suffered from a lack of spare parts this season needs.
Somewhat scarily, loose drain covers aren’t entirely uncommon in F1 as any that aren’t secured properly are likely to be worked loose by the sheer downforce of the cars. In the 2005 Chinese GP Juan Pablo Montoya retired because he hit a drain cover, and a similar thing happened to Rubens Barrichello in Monaco in 2010. And two years ago in Malaysia, Romain Grosjean’s car was destroyed after hitting one during FP2.
With the session stopped to clear up the debris and check the drain covers, something even stranger happened. While Russell’s car was being driven away on the back of a truck, the crane on top of the truck hit a bridge across the circuit. A pipe split and hydraulic fluid poured all over the car and the track.
CONFIRMED: FP1 will not resume 🔴
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 26, 2019
With the combination of potentially loose drains and an oil slick on the track, the decision was taken to cancel the session altogether in order to make proper repairs to the circuit, ready for FP2.
Well done Baku. Not even 15 minutes into FP1 and everything is already absolutely mad.