Azerbaijan FP1 cancelled after George Russell hits loose manhole cover

First practice for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix has been cancelled following an incident involving a loose manhole cover and George Russell's Williams.

Just ten minutes into FP1, Russell ran over a manhole cover on the racing line between Turns 2 and 3, which lifted and impacted the floor of the Williams, causing severe damage and forcing the British driver to stop on the circuit.

The incident scattered debris over the circuit and forced a red flag, suspending the session.

Russell's car was then involved in a second incident as it was being recovered. The recovery truck struck a bridge on its way back to the pitlane, severing a hydraulic pipe which leaked oil over the Williams and meant the truck was unable to offload the car, meaning a second crane had to be called in to complete the job.

With more than 300 manhole covers present on the Baku street circuit and all requiring inspection, race control decided to cancel the session after just 30 minutes.

Russell was left unharmed but reported it was a very heavy impact and fears it may have damaged the monocoque, which would force Williams to ready its third chassis.

Charles Leclerc ended the session fastest for Ferrari with a 1:47.497, but was only one of two drivers to set a timed lap, the other being team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

It's not clear whether the inspection works will be completed in time for FP2, or whether that session will need to be delayed.

Azerbaijan - Practice 1

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Flag   Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:47.497 5
2 Flag   Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:49.598 2.101 4
3 Flag   Romain Grosjean Haas 1
4 Flag   Lando Norris McLaren 1
5 Flag   Max Verstappen Red Bull 1
6 Flag   Kevin Magnussen Haas 1
7 Flag   Carlos Sainz McLaren 1
8 Flag   Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 1
9 Flag   Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1
10 Flag   Robert Kubica Williams 1
11 Flag   George Russell Williams 1
12 Flag   Alexander Albon Toro Rosso 1
13 Flag   Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1
14 Flag   Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1
15 Flag   Pierre Gasly Red Bull 1
16 Flag   Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 1
17 Flag   Sergio Perez Racing Point 1
18 Flag   Lance Stroll Racing Point 1