Russell to miss FP2 after manhole cover incident

Williams Formula 1 driver George Russell will miss second practice for the Azerbaijan GP after his collision with a loose manhole cover in FP1 damaged his chassis beyond immediate repair.

Russell to miss FP2 after manhole cover incident

The incident led to the session being cancelled with only the two Ferrari drivers having set a flying laptime.

The spare FW42 chassis is now being built up but, under FIA regulations, if a driver makes a change, he cannot take part in another session on the same day.

In addition, some of Russell's Mercedes power unit elements are believed to have been damaged and may not be usable, which will move him closer to potential grid penalties.

In an extra blow for the Grove outfit Russell's teammate Robert Kubica is the only driver who has not run at Baku previously in either F1 or F2, and he is now also on the back foot having lost FP1 mileage.

"I think that when you send a car out on a race track that you should have the understanding that your car is not going to be damaged by that race track in that way," Claire Williams told Motorsport.com.

"I'm incredibly annoyed about it, clearly. The most important thing is that George is OK, and that it didn't cause what could potentially have been a bigger accident. We have to ask the FIA and FOM to ensure that it doesn't happen, and protect against it in the future.

"And for us as an independent team there are serious financial implications of this. We'd just taken the pressure out of the system and got ourselves back on an even keel. The chassis is split, and we have to revert to chassis 03.

"We're going to lose this afternoon's running, and we're potentially going to have to replace the ERS pack, which has again implications. It's just not OK.

"We had the same here in 2016 with Valtteri, coming into the pitlane I think it was. It wasn't as serious, but it was pretty significant."

After Romain Grosjean's Haas was damaged by a loose drain cover at the 2017 Malaysian GP the US-owned team successfully claimed compensation.

Asked if she would follow suit, Williams said: "I think that those are conversations that will happen."

Hydraulic fluid on the damaged car of George Russell, Williams Racing FW42

Hydraulic fluid on the damaged car of George Russell, Williams Racing FW42

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Sutton Images

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