Las Vegas GP: First practice cancelled after broken manhole cover damages car of Carlos Sainz

Formula 1′s return to Las Vegas was thrown into chaos as the opening practice session was cancelled after just eight minutes of action due to a broken drain cover damaging Carlos Sainz’s car.

With F1 returning to Las Vegas for the first time since 1982 on an all-new circuit, a red flag was thrown by the race director Sainz’s Ferrari suffered significant damage having run over the damaged part of the track on the main straight.

Ocon’s Alpine then suffered damage under the red flag when it hit the scattered debris left by the Sainz incident.

A further 11 minutes passed before a decision taken to cancel the session, with second practice subsequently pushed back two hours from its scheduled start time to 10am. It has also been extended by a third to run to 90 minutes.

An FIA statement had earlier said: “Following inspection, it was the concrete frame around a manhole cover that has failed.

“We now need to check all of the other manhole covers which will take some time – we will be discussing with the local circuit engineering team about the length of time it will take to resolve and will update with any resultant changes to the schedule.”

Speaking in the team principal’s press conference immediately after the session, Ferrari boss Frederic Vasseur described the incident as “unacceptable” while confirming damage to Sainz’s monocoque, engine, and battery.

Alpine, meanwhile, confirmed that the chassis would need to be changed on Ocon’s car.

The other Ferrari of Charles Leclerc was top of the timesheet when the session was halted, but the extremely limited running offered next to no clue as to what the running order will be for the remainder of the weekend.

The incident does not mark the first time in recent history that an F1 session has been halted by such an issue.

First practice at the 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix was cancelled when George Russell’s Williams hit a drain cover and was damaged.

The opening session at this season’s Canadian Grand Prix was also called off after just four minutes due to issues with the circuit’s CCTV.

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