Lewis Hamilton previews Las Vegas Grand Prix
Alpha Tauri star Daniel Ricciardo has questioned F1 chiefs after Carlos Sainz wrecked his Ferrari by driving over a loose drain cover during practice ahead of the Las Vegas Grand Prix. Formula One’s return to Las Vegas was thrown into chaos following the incident as the opening practice session of the weekend was cancelled after just eight minutes.
The Nevada street circuit has been added to the F1 calendar this year, with teams and their drivers descending on the United States earlier this week. But a red flag was issued after Sainz’s Ferrari was significantly damaged by the broken drain cover.
Esteban Ocon’s Alpine then collided with the debris that had been left behind in the aftermath of the incident and required a replacement chassis. The opening session was ultimately completely cancelled, with the second practice being extended from 60 minutes to 90 minutes after starting two-and-half hours later than scheduled.
And Ricciardo has questioned F1 bosses after being asked if they had prioritised the razzmatazz of the Las Vegas event over the safety of the sport.
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“It’s a fair question,” he said. “We’re like, yeah it’s a late day, but two cars got ruined. Along with that there is a financial thing there for the teams, which is a big issue for them, but then you brought up the biggest issue which is safety.
“So fortunately Carlos is okay, but those things could be greater. When I say greater I mean bigger consequences. I don’t know, I think it’s easy to say we did opening ceremonies and focused on other things and did they do their due diligence on the track? But with everything that happened today, you could ask some questions like did they do enough?
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“That one for sure I can’t side step, that is a safety concern, and we’re here late but the safety one is something hopefully they will take pretty seriously. It (the loose drain cover) happened in Monaco and Baku as well – it’s obviously a street circuit thing. But I feel like permanent circuits have a certain criteria or whatever and a lot of boxes to tick and I feel like street circuits need a few more. It’s hard when it’s open to the public, but they obviously need to do that.”
And after the second practice session, the former Red Bull star added: “It’s obviously a difficult situation and I don’t want to s*** on the sport. It’s the first time here, it’s a massive project and things unfortunately happened. I know no one wanted them to but I guess they did the best they could with what they had. I know it’s late and everyone is probably a little bit grumpy, but at least we got some running done.”
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