Manhole cover halts first Las Vegas Grand Prix practice

JENNA FRYER Associated Press

LAS VEGAS – The first Formula One practice of the Las Vegas Grand Prix was stopped less than 21 minutes into Thursday night’s session after Carlos Sainz Jr. go over a manhole cover on the road.

“We are currently looking at an issue with a drain cover,” said the F1 governing body as it asked all the cars off the track. “We are not going to go again because it will take time to understand the issue and take any necessary actions to remedy it.”

The FIA ​​later said that Sainz hit the concrete frame around a manhole cover and that the governing body must now inspect all manhole covers on the course.

“We will be discussing with the local circuit engineering team the length of time it will take to find a solution and will update any changes to the schedule as a result,” the FIA ​​said.

There was a second practice schedule for midnight.

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Sainz appeared to run over the pit cover just nine minutes into practice on the street course that runs down the famous Strip. It caused the Ferrari to bottom out and its engine could be destroyed.

Sainz climbed from his car and was already walking back towards the garage when the FIA ​​took to the track to start an inspection. The session did not restart, but it took another 11 minutes for the FIA ​​to cancel the session.

Ferrari was inspecting the damage and said it appeared to be “quite extensive”.

The 3.85-mile (6.2-kilometer) street circuit uses a large portion of the Strip and passes several Las Vegas landmarks on the 17-turn layout. As much of the course is open to traffic during the day, the FIA ​​was unable to inspect the track and approve it for racing until early Thursday morning after the course was closed overnight.

Esteban Ocon also had a problem before the session was called, and he also seems to have run over something as the chassis of his Alpine was badly damaged. Ocon said as he passed Sainz on the track, he believed he hit the dislodged cover.

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