Well Done Baku? FP1 Drama for Williams

The Azerbaijan GP is famous for its pretty spectacular races (except for the inaugural race of 2016), but this time the drama already started after a few minutes into Free Practice 1.

Charles Leclerc exited turn 2 and came up on the straight, driving partly over a drain cover. This caused the cover to come loose and a little  later it was George Russell who drove over it with his Williams. He parked his car just after turn 3 and looked to the floor of the car, which was damaged quite heavily.

Immediately the red flag was dropped and the tow truck came to pick up the Williams. Track inspections under the lead of Michael Masi (which would normally be the job of the late Charlie Whiting) and it took just a few seconds before they decided to suspend the whole session. A very dramatic decision as there was more than an hour left in the session, meaning teams would lose important track time.

The drama didn’t stop there, however. The tow truck was on its way to the pits to bring back the number 63 Williams car to the Williams box, when it hit a bridge. The tow was too high for the bridge, which caused hydraulic damage to the tow truck. The hydraulic fluid was spreading over the Williams car, whilst the team was waiting for another recovery car to take over the task of the failed tow truck.

The damage caused by the drain cover was so heavy that the whole chassis had to be changed. Russell won’t be able to run until FP3. Sadly, another day for (one side of the garage of) Williams gone.

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