The first practice session of the Las Vegas Grand Prix had to be canceled after just eight minutes due to a loose manhole cover on the track. Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari suffered extensive damage to its floor when it sucked up the loose manhole cover, leading to the cancellation of the session.
The FIA determined that the concrete frame around the manhole cover had failed, leading to the incident. As a result, Sainz was handed a 10-place grid penalty after the damage forced him to install new power unit components. Additionally, Esteban Ocon hit a manhole cover, which required a chassis change for his car.
Although the necessary repairs were made in time for the second practice session to proceed as scheduled at 3 a.m. Friday, fans had to be ejected from their seats at 1:30 a.m. due to safety concerns and logistical issues. The second session took place in front of empty grandstands, with Sainz participating and being beaten by teammate Charles Leclerc.
Max Verstappen, the favorite to win Saturday’s main event, came in sixth during the session. Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff downplayed the incident, stating that it has happened before and is nothing to worry about. However, Ferrari team principal Frédéric Vasseur called the situation “just unacceptable.”
Despite the cancellation and the challenges faced during the first day of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, the teams and drivers were gearing up for the main event on Saturday.