Just a normal, quiet day in Baku…nothing to see here

Date published: April 26 2019

Claire Williams says it is "not acceptable" after a loose drain cover destroyed the underside of George Russell's car in FP1 in Baku.

George Russell brought out a red flag just 13 minutes into FP1 in Baku after a loose drain cover destroyed the underside of his FW42. It was the start of a chaotic day.

Here’s how Friday’s action unfolded, starting with Nico Hulkenberg.

The German had been asked that rather strange dog question in yesterday’s FIA driver press conference. “Well, I think you want me to say yes, but no not really,” said Hulk when asked if it was to become a Renault mascot.

Clearly the incident left Renault’s social team with a new policy of making themselves unequivocally clear – it’s sunny in Baku!

Haas aren’t likely to need those intermediates at any stage – the full race weekend looks set fair.

Either most of the staff are on a breakfast break of they have given up on that Williams FW42.

Could do with resurfacing that part – won’t be good for all the bits and pieces on the modern Formula 1 car.

They don’t even let Charles do English interviews now?

Or to play devil’s advocate, what if they’re putting it in the car to slow him down?

They may struggle to all fit into the McLaren.

Busted Daniil.

The green light went on to kick-off the race weekend – Romain Grosjean was first out in FP1 for Haas.

Ferrari got their first flyer done early – both on the mediums, Leclerc went three seconds faster than Seb to send an early message.

George Russell brought out the first red flag of the session with 13 mins gone after a drain cover seemingly got sucked up and smashed the underside of his Williams to pieces.

What a mess!

Update, the recovery truck has hit the bridge and there is now oil pouring on the Williams. You would think these guys haven’t hosted a Grand Prix before.

And that’s that folks, FP1 is over.

They just can’t get any luck this team…

But…technically, Ferrari have claimed a one-two in that session. It was actually Charles who went over the cover that originally disloged it.

Russell was forced to sit out FP2 under the regulations when Williams changed the chassis after his date with the drain cover in FP1.

A 1:51.3 was Hamilton’s first effort in FP2, but don’t fret, it was in the W10 and not on his scooter. He would soon improve by five seconds.

Not again…

Racing Point wouldn’t have fancied an oil-soaked RP19, so this was a smart decision.

Unlike FP1, this time there was a green flag and Ferrari made a bolt for it – that was until Vettel found the run-off.

Leclerc, who worked very hard indeed to finish fastest in the first session, would set a 1:43.376 on the softs – Vettel soon pipped that by 0.18s, before Leclerc then bettered that – all fun and games for the Scuderia.

Well done Alfa, soon after this both Pierre Gasly and Daniel Ricciardo had offs, but fortunately reverse was found and no red flag was needed.

With how free practice had been going, Karun Chandhok was a brave man getting so close.

With 30 minutes to go, pace setter Leclerc went out to begin his long run programme, while Sergio Perez and Lando Norris were the latest names to defect to off-roading.

Ah red flag, hello old friend. Kvyat this time at fault after he slid his Toro Rosso into the turn 7 wall.

Yes Robert, you heard us right, five seconds slower than Leclerc.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, meanwhile Max Verstappen split the Mercedes to go P4 as the session headed for its climax.

It was another one two for Ferrari to go with their FP1 exploits, and this one will feel more fulfilling.

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