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.

1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m42.872s 28
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m43.196s 0.324s 28
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m43.541s 0.669s 31
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1m43.793s 0.921s 24
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m44.003s 1.131s 31
6 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Honda 1m44.177s 1.305s 9
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren/Renault 1m44.183s 1.311s 27
8 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso/Honda 1m44.216s 1.344s 33
9 Pierre Gasly Red Bull/Honda 1m44.240s 1.368s 24
10 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1m44.295s 1.423s 32
11 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m44.901s 2.029s 25
12 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1m45.366s 2.494s 31
13 Sergio Perez Racing Point/Mercedes 1m45.436s 2.564s 28
14 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1m45.482s 2.610s 30
15 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m45.483s 2.611s 15
16 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m45.618s 2.746s 31
17 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m46.717s 3.845s 24
18 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 1m47.875s 5.003s 8
19 Robert Kubica Williams/Mercedes 1m48.111s 5.239s 27
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…..and, in the end, this is all we got to see: