Azerbaijan Grand Prix is one of the most excited Grand Prix in the championship. So, Baku wouldn’t be Baku if there were not some crazy and spectacular happenings.
The first day of racing weekend in Azerbaijan has started with the cancelled first practice session. Williams spend not the best season so far, but obviously Baku decided to make their situation more complicated.
The Williams George Russell one of the first drivers moved out on the track, and with just over 10 minutes of the session, on the second attempt the driver was running over a loose drain cover. The Russell’s car, specifically the floor, has got huge damages. But moreover, when marshals started to transport his car, the crane on the back of the truck hits the bridge, what provoked a dripping of oil onto the George’s Williams FW42.
So due to damages the team had to change the chassis, and, unfortunately for Williams, Russel couldn’t participate in FP2.
“George’s car will require a chassis change due to the damage caused by the loose drain cover. Therefore due to regulations he will not be able to run until FP3 tomorrow,” – Williams said in a statement.
“It’s clearly not what we want and it’s not what you expect from an F1 track. These drain covers are supposed to be bolted down. We’ll be picking that up with race control,” – Williams principle Claire Williams said after George's incident.
After the incident the session was stopped and then totally over, when it turned out that it’s necessary to check up other 300 manholes on the track. The next session – F2 qualifying was delayed by 30 minutes due to track maintenance.
The second practice has started original time and also was full of hot moments.
The first hero of FP2 Lance Stroll had a crash at Turn 2, that’s why the session was stopped again, but only for 10 minutes. By the way, due to problems in FP1 with the crane on the truck that hits the bridge, race control has decided not to use cranes and that’s why marshals couldn’t remove Stroll’s car from the truck without it for a long time.
After the restart Pierre Gasly was off the track at Turn 3, but without any crash and damages. With just few moments Daniel Ricciardo did the same at Turn 15.
So, 23 minutes before the end of the session Daniil Kvyat has begun to celebrate birthday. At the exit of the Turn 7 Daniil didn’t hold the car and hit the left side of it against the wall. Due to crash the front left wheel was broken and the brakes caught fire. The candle on the birthday cake was put out!
So, talking about the preparations of the track for Grand Prix former owner of commercial rights of F1 and the regular visitor of Baku race Bernie Ecclestone said it’s very surprisingly that the track is so poorly prepared.
“There's nothing good about what happened to Russell. It's amazing that this could happen. Usually there are no such problems. I'm surprised. If I had known it would be like this, I would have come a little earlier – it's more interesting,” – Mr. Ecclestone said.
“But Baku is never boring, it is one of those races where you have to come. It is also a beautiful city. When we first talked about this race, I thought it would be difficult to hold the city stage here. But then we found the right place. I am surprised and impressed with what happened. Since then, a lot has been done here, and everything has changed greatly compared to what it was before”.
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