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Las Vegas GP: First practice cancelled after broken manhole cover damages car of Carlos Sainz

Formula 1 was making a return to Las Vegas for the first time since 1982; Ferrari's Carlos Sainz suffered significant damage to his car because of broken drain cover on all-new circuit; Practice Two delayed until 10am and extended to 90 minutes

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The Las Vegas Grand Prix Practice One was suspended after 8 minutes due to a track defect that forced Carlos Sainz to stop his car

Formula 1's return to Las Vegas was thrown into chaos as the opening practice session was cancelled after just eight minutes of action due to a broken drain cover damaging Carlos Sainz's car.

With F1 returning to Las Vegas for the first time since 1982 on an all-new circuit, a red flag was thrown by the race director Sainz's Ferrari suffered significant damage having run over the damaged part of the track on the main straight.

Ocon's Alpine then suffered damage under the red flag when it hit the scattered debris left by the Sainz incident.

A further 11 minutes passed before a decision taken to cancel the session, with second practice subsequently pushed back two hours from its scheduled start time to 10am. It has also been extended by a third to run to 90 minutes.

An FIA statement had earlier said: "Following inspection, it was the concrete frame around a manhole cover that has failed.

"We now need to check all of the other manhole covers which will take some time - we will be discussing with the local circuit engineering team about the length of time it will take to resolve and will update with any resultant changes to the schedule."

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Frederic Vasseur fumed in the team principal presser describing the damage Carlos Sainz sustained to his car as 'unacceptable'.

Speaking in the team principal's press conference immediately after the session, Ferrari boss Frederic Vasseur described the incident as "unacceptable" while confirming damage to Sainz's monocoque, engine, and battery.

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Alpine, meanwhile, confirmed that the chassis would need to be changed on Ocon's car.

The other Ferrari of Charles Leclerc was top of the timesheet when the session was halted, but the extremely limited running offered next to no clue as to what the running order will be for the remainder of the weekend.

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Sky Sports Martin Brundle and Danica Patrick discuss if Friday's session of the Las Vegas GP will restart after being suspended after just 8 minutes due to a drain cover issue

The incident does not mark the first time in recent history that an F1 session has been halted by such an issue.

First practice at the 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix was cancelled when George Russell's Williams hit a drain cover and was damaged.

The opening session at this season's Canadian Grand Prix was also called off after just four minutes due to issues with the circuit's CCTV.

Wolff launches impassioned defence of Vegas GP organisers

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff offered an impassioned defence of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, which is the first event that the owners of F1 commercial rights, Liberty Media, has organised and promoted itself.

Wolff reacted angrily to being asked whether the event had been "a black eye" for F1.

He said: "That is not a black eye, this is nothing. We are Thursday night, we have a free practice session one that we're not doing.

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Toto Wolff defended the Las Vegas track saying it's not a 'black eye' for the sport after a broken drain cover ended FP1 early

"They're going to seal the drain covers, and nobody's going to talk about that tomorrow morning anymore.

"It's completely ridiculous, completely ridiculous. FP1 - how can you even dare trying to talk bad about the event that sets the new standards, new standards to everything.

"And then you're speaking about a drain cover that's been undone. That has happened before, that's nothing. It's FP1.

"Give credit to the people that have set up this Grand Prix, that have made this sport much bigger than it ever was.

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner responds to the news that FP1 of the Las Vegas GP has been suspended by saying 'safety comes first'.

"Have you ever spoken good about someone and written a good word? You should about all these people that have been out here. Liberty has done an awesome job and just because in FP1 a drain cover has become undone, we shouldn't be moaning.

"The car is broken. That's really a shame for Carlos. It could have been dangerous. So between the FIA and the track, everybody needs to analyse how we can make sure that this is not happening again.

"But talking here about the black eye for the sport on a Thursday evening, nobody watches that in European time anyway."

When to watch the Las Vegas GP live on Sky Sports

Friday November 17

  • 9.45am: Las Vegas GP Practice Two (session starts at 10am)
  • TBC: The F1 Show: Las Vegas

Saturday November 18

  • 4:15am: Las Vegas GP Practice Three (session starts at 4.30am)
  • 7am: Las Vegas Grand Prix Qualifying build-up (also on Sky Showcase)
  • 8am: Las Vegas GP Qualifying (also on Sky Showcase)
  • 10am: Ted's Qualifying Notebook

Sunday November 19

  • 4:30am: Grand Prix Sunday: Las Vegas GP build-up (also on Sky Showcase)
  • 6am: THE LAS VEGAS GRAND PRIX (also on Sky Showcase)
  • 8am: Chequered Flag: Las Vegas GP reaction (also on Sky Showcase)
  • 9am: Ted's Notebook (also on Sky Showcase)

Get ready for the big one: Formula 1 in Las Vegas! See drivers race down the Strip, and past landmarks like Caesars Palace and the Bellagio, on F1's newest street track. Watch the whole Las Vegas GP weekend live on Sky Sports F1, starting this Friday with lights out on Sunday at 6am. Stream F1 on Sky Sports with NOW


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