F1’s much anticipated romp around the streets of Vegas hit an early roadblock when the cars of Carlos Sainz and Esteban Ocon dislodged water valve covers, which damaged both of their chassis beyond repair and led to FP1 being abandoned after eight minutes.
After emergency fixes were applied to the 30 similar covers around the 6.2km street circuit, FP2 eventually shifted to 2:30am local time from its original midnight slot.
The session ran without incidents, but also without fans. Due to logistical and staffing restrictions all spectators were asked to leave the circuit from 1:30am onwards, meaning F1’s most expensive event of the year held its first full practice session in front of empty grandstands.
AlphaTauri’s Ricciardo said he felt sorry for the fans who spent their hard-earned money on tickets to only catch eight minutes of action, and admitted the much-delayed FP2 session initially didn’t feel worth it.
“Obviously, now that we’ve done a…