FP1: Russell’s FW42 destroyed by drain cover

Date published: April 26 2019

FP1: George Russell's FW42 destroyed by drain cover

FP1 in Baku was cancelled after a loose drain cover wrecked George Russell’s Williams on his first run out of the pits.

Despite concerns about rain following Thursday’s showers, first practice got underway in The Land of Flames under blue skies with just a few clouds overhead. The track temperature was a warm 39’C.

Charles Leclerc posted the first lap time of the day, a 1:49.1, but given the massive track evolution at this street circuit that quickly began to fall.

Williams hopes of showing some improvement this weekend were dealt a blow early in the session as George Russell’s FW42, fitted with the team’s new rear wing, hit a lose manhole cover which shattered his floor and diffuser.

He came to a halt at Turn 3 with a shake of his head.

The red flags were thrown for debris on the track. Race Control: “Track repairs will be necessary so there will be a significant delay.”

Russell’s stricken car was returned to the pits on a flatbed truck while track marshals made repairs to the drain cover.

An unimpressed Williams team boss Claire Williams: “Clear from the data and what everyone can see that there is quite a lot of damage to the floor of the car.”

She revealed they may need to go to the “third chassis” for Russell.

To make matters worse, the flatbed truck carrying Russell’s car drove into a bridge as it tried to get back to the pits.

That broke the truck’s hydraulics and it dripped oil all over the Williams.

FP1 was cancelled as the marshals had to check all the drain covers with only Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel having set times.

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