Baku off with a bang…literally

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It was a bit of a wild and wooly start to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend on Friday with sewer covers coming off, trucks hitting bridges and people being ran over by the rear wheels of a Ferrari.

It started in FP1 when Williams F1 driver, George Russell, ran over the top of a manhole cover which lifted up and crashed into the underbody of the Williams car sending carbon fiber everywhere and ending his Friday practice sessions with a severely damaged monocoque.

If that wasn’t bad enough for Williams, the flatbed loader equipped with a crane proceeded to take the stricken Williams back to the garage but it left its recovery crane too high in the air and when traveling under a bridge, the crane arm slammed into the overhead structure. This caused a hydraulic fluid leak from the crane arm which poured down all over the Williams car underneath it.

If it had to happen to any team, Williams F1 was certainly not the team to pick. Tight on cash and development money, a damaged monocoque was not what they were planning on and team boss Claire Williams was rather measured in her response suggesting they would take the matter up with the FIA.

Daniil Kvyat and Lance Stroll brought out red flags and Kevin Magnussen nearly took Lewis Hamilton’s nose off but that’s most likely not how Kevin saw the incident.

There was also a good reminder of why you don’t push and F2 car while running alongside just ahead of the rear wheels.

Regardless, Ferrari seemed to be quick on Friday with Charles Leclerc leading the way even though the red cars were trimmed out with more downforce than others.

1Charles LeclercFerrari1m42.872s28
2Sebastian VettelFerrari1m43.196s0.324s28
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes1m43.541s0.669s31
4Max VerstappenRed Bull/Honda1m43.793s0.921s24
5Valtteri BottasMercedes1m44.003s1.131s31
6Daniil KvyatToro Rosso/Honda1m44.177s1.305s9
7Carlos Sainz Jr.McLaren/Renault1m44.183s1.311s27
8Alexander AlbonToro Rosso/Honda1m44.216s1.344s33
9Pierre GaslyRed Bull/Honda1m44.240s1.368s24
10Lando NorrisMcLaren/Renault1m44.295s1.423s32
11Kevin MagnussenHaas/Ferrari1m44.901s2.029s25
12Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo/Ferrari1m45.366s2.494s31
13Sergio PerezRacing Point/Mercedes1m45.436s2.564s28
14Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo/Ferrari1m45.482s2.610s30
15Daniel RicciardoRenault1m45.483s2.611s15
16Romain GrosjeanHaas/Ferrari1m45.618s2.746s31
17Nico HulkenbergRenault1m46.717s3.845s24
18Lance StrollRacing Point/Mercedes1m47.875s5.003s8
19Robert KubicaWilliams/Mercedes1m48.111s5.239s27
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…..and, in the end, this is all we got to see: