Formula 1 aborted the opening practice session for the Las Vegas Grand Prix after a drain cover shattered the floor of Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari.
The session saw just seven minutes of track action with Charles Leclerc on top of the timesheet ahead of Nico Hulkenberg before the red flag was waved for Sainz’s stricken Ferrari.
With the FIA revealing it was a manhole cover that broke Sainz’s floor, the session was cancelled on safety grounds.
Charles Leclerc quickest in aborted session
As the clock struck 8:30pm, the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll was first out on a visibly slippery surface on a chilly night with the track temperature sitting at just 19’C. “Grip is very low,” said George Russell.
Esteban Ocon threw down the opening gambit with a 1:50.1. That was destroyed by Charles Leclerc with a 1:44.0 with track evolution forecast to be immense.
Seven minutes into the session Carlos Sainz brought out the first yellow flag of the session, make that a red, as the Ferrari driver came to a stop on the main straight.
“Stop the car, engine off,” was the message sent to the Spaniard who had just notably bottomed out on a bump with a groan of pain from the driver.
As his rivals returned to the pits, Sainz climbed out of his stricken SF-23 with his session over after just three laps. It was a lengthy stoppage with a truck out on track to collect Sainz’s Ferrari only for Race Control to announce the session would “not be resumed”.
Sainz’s Ferrari was returned to the pits with the floor shattered, potentially the front suspension too, prompting the FIA to call time on the session due to safety concerns after the FIA’s technical team had a look at the car.
Motorsport’s governing body confirmed it was the concrete frame around a manhole cover that failed that Sainz had hit, the cover not properly attached to the surrounding metal.
According to reports, Ocon’s Alpine was also damaged by a drain cover.
1 Charles LECLERC Ferrari 1:40.909
2 Nico HULKENBERG Haas F1 Team +2.537
3 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas F1 Team +3.352
4 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing +3.488
5 Esteban OCON Alpine +4.456
6 George RUSSELL Mercedes +4.588
7 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari
8 Yuki TSUNODA AlphaTauri +4.999
9 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing +5.884
10 Valtteri BOTTAS Alfa Romeo +6.238
11 Pierre GASLY Alpine +7.344
12 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes +7.604
13 Daniel RICCIARDO AlphaTauri +7.741
14 Guanyu ZHOU Alfa Romeo +7.913
15 Lando NORRIS McLaren +8.038
16 Lance STROLL Aston Martin
17 Oscar PIASTRI McLaren
18 Alexander ALBON Williams
19 Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin
20 Logan SARGEANT Williams