Here is the moment sparks flew from Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari car, leading to the cancellation of first practice at the Las Vegas Grand Prix.
Formula One was back racing in Sin City for the first time since 1982, this time on an all-new circuit.
But just eight minutes into the action a red flag was waved as Sainz’s Ferrari, and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, picked up damage from a loose drain cover.
CCTV footage shows a fiery plume of smoke emerge from under Sainz’s car as he was soon lost amid the sparks before returning to the garage.
F1’s governing body, the FIA, later confirmed that a concrete frame around one of the drain covers had failed, which was the reason their was damage to Sainz’s Ferrari.
CCTV footage from Las Vegas shows the moment sparks engulfed Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari
Sainz picked up extensive damage to his car after running over a loose drain cover on track
Only five laps were completed in front of the crowds in Vegas before things were halted
A furious Ferrari team principal, Fred Vasseur, said: ‘The situation is that we damaged completely the monocoque, the engine, the battery. I think it’s just unacceptable.
LAS VEGAS GP WEEKEND SCHEDULE
November 17: Practice 2 (10am GMT/2am PST)
November 18: Practice 3 (4.30am GMT/8.30pm PST)
November 18: Qualifying (8am GMT/12am PST)
November 19: Race (6am GMT/10pm PST)
‘We had a very tough one. This will cost us a fortune.
‘We f**ked up the session for Carlos. We won’t be part of the FP2 for sure, we have to change the chassis.
‘Okay, the show is the show and everything is going well but I think it is just unacceptable for F1 today.’
Second practice is due to start at 2am local time in Las Vegas but Sainz will be nothing more than a spectator after the fiasco of first practice.
Sainz’s sparks were the talk of the garages at the end, with Red Bull and Mercedes at odds on how big a deal it was.
A similar event occurred in Baku, Azerbaijan, in 2019, another street circuit, and in Monaco, where Jenson Button encountered drain cover problems in 2016.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner discussed the situation with Ferrari counterpart Vasseur on the pit wall.
Horner said: ‘It’s a shame we are not allowed on track. They are going to have to check all the manhole covers and weld them or do something because you can see the damage it’s done. We are all good. No damage for us so far.
‘They have got to be flexible. It’s a great shame for the fans but safety comes first. We have got to get this right and hopefully it won’t take too long.’
A loose drain cover saw the first practice of the Vegas Grand Prix called off in eight minutes
Track marshals and officials tend to the area of the track that saw first practice ended early
Sainz’s Ferrari is removed from the track by a crane after going over the cover at near 200mph
The issue was far from an ideal start to a hugely anticipated race weekend in Las Vegas
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, meanwhile, was livid at criticism being aimed at organisers following the drain cover fiasco.
‘That is not a black eye,’ Wolff said. ‘This is nothing!’
He added: ‘It’s completely ridiculous! Completely ridiculous, FP1, how can you even dare try to talk bad about an event that sets the new standards to everything? And then you’re speaking about a f***ing drain cover that’s been undone. That has happened before! That’s nothing, it’s FP1!’
Only five laps were completed in front of the crowds.