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F1 Bahrain testing: Session ahead of 2024 Formula One season abandoned after Hamilton, Leclerc affected by drain cover

The morning session of day two of testing ahead of the 2024 Formula One season ended prematurely when a loose drain cover caused issues at the Bahrain International Circuit.

The first red flag of pre-season testing came out because of the drain on the entry kurbing at Turn 11, with Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc hitting loose metal debris.

Seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton, who was taking part in his first testing session with Mercedes’ new W15 car, also had to leave the track.

“Repairs are underway and it is expected that the repair will be concluded within one hour,” a statement from organisers said, adding that the afternoon session would begin an hour earlier than scheduled (11am GMT, finishing at 4pm).

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Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso shifted his position to avoid potential damage, and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was telling marshals about the problem as Leclerc hit the metal, according to BBC Sport.

Sainz would have been reminded of the destruction to his SF-23 when he hit a drain cover in the first practice session for last season’s Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Leclerc’s car was hidden after he joined the rest of the drivers on track in returning to the pits, while Hamilton had his car lifted to allow Mercedes to check its floor.

F1 Bahrain testing results

Leclerc had set the pace during the three hours of testing that took place, finishing more than half a second ahead of McLaren’s Oscar Piastri.

Logan Sergeant was third for Williams, followed by Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, Alonso and Hamilton.

Track officials had hoped to resume racing after an inspection but the extent of the problem meant that the session had to be called off.

“To finally be here at track is really what we’ve all been waiting for,” Red Bull chief executive officer Peter Bayer told Sky Sports F1 before the action was curtailed.

“Yesterday went quite well. We went out, we had no big issues. The team has made an amazing effort.”

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