There was early mayhem at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with multiple cars crashing throughout the qualifying session on Saturday night (AEST).
Lance Stroll and Antonio Giovinazzi collided with the wall at Turn 15 in Q1, forcing them out of qualifying and sending their car to the back of the grid for Sunday’s race.
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But late in Q2, Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo suffered the same fate, crashing into the wall at Turn 3.
It was Lance Stroll who fell victim first to the infamous Turn 15, as the Canadian locked up before clattering his front-right wheel into the barrier and causing a red flag.
No, no, no. 😩
Barely a minute had passed before Stroll crashed into the barrier.
Stroll’s crash gifted Williams driver George Russell and his team of mechanics a golden opportunity to get his car ready after losing power and leaking oil. The car required a full power unit change, and the gravity of the situation required the mechanics of Russell’s teammate, Nicholas Latifi, to pitch in and help get the car ready for qualifying.
It was nothing short of a herculean effort from all involved to get Russell’s car on the track to give him a fighting chance in qualifying. The Brit has never been out-qualified by his teammate and will look to continue that trend in Baku.
Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi also fell foul of Turn 15, and eliminated himself from qualifying just 6 minutes into the first session.
🚩 RED FLAG 🚩
Turn 15 bites again 💥
Giovinazzi is the latest driver to find the Baku barriers ❌#AzerbaijanGP 🇦🇿 #F1pic.twitter.com/EjqPHiaWAG
Stroll and Giovinazzi will start at the back of the grid, much to the chagrin of their team principals and their respective mechanics.
For ten drivers, they were fortunate enough to clock times before Giovinazzi eliminated himself from the qualifying proceedings.
But for the remaining eight, it was last chance saloon as the allotted time provided only one meaningful chance to post a competitive qualifying time.
Q2 got off to a heated start right from the pits.
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez was preparing to exit the pits, but the Aston Martin of Sebastian Vettel nipped right in front of him, and the Mexican was none too pleased about it.
I see a fine in someone’s future. #AzerbaijanGP#[email protected]@redbullracingpic.twitter.com/2LU4FWU5fP
For a fleeting moment, it seemed as if Esteban Ocon’s car would also share a similar fate to Stroll and Giovinazzi, but his wheels barely kissed the barrier and emerged relatively unscathed.
And with less than one minute remaining in the session, Ricciardo crashed his McLaren into the wall at Turn 3, prompting yet another red flag.
“Big disappointment for Daniel and for us, especially after the step forward we saw we could do this weekend,” McLaren chief Andreas Seidl told Sky Sports.
Ricciardo’s blunder ruined the flying lasp of veteran driver Sebastian Vettel, who voiced his frustration after being informed he had finished P11.
Daniel Ricciardo is in the wall. No!. This sucks pic.twitter.com/8Dmeh4KLYA
Can Ricciardo just catch a break man! 🥺😭 #AzerbaijanGP#F1
Eliminated in Q1: Nicholas Latifi (Williams), Mick Schumacher (Haas), Nikita Mazepin (Haas), Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), Lance Stroll (Aston Martin).
Eliminated in Q2: Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin), Esteban Ocon (Alpine), Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren), Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo), George Russell (Williams)
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