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17th Nov 2023

Unseen CCTV footage shows moment F1 car was destroyed by manhole at Las Vegas GP

Callum Boyle

Las Vegas GP

Not the best way to introduce yourself, Las Vegas

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz had a lucky escape during the first practice session of the Las Vegas Grand Prix after his car was destroyed by a manhole cover.

Formula One has arrived in Las Vegas for the first time but it’s inaugural race weekend has been marred by the moment the Spaniard was forced to stop his car just eight minutes into the session.

A red flag was immediately raised and the race never restarted. The second practice session was delayed by over three hours as track officials completed the necessary checks across the tracks.

Fresh CCTV cover has since revealed the moment Sainz’s car ran over the manhole cover and what actually happened.

In the footage, the underside of his Ferrari sets off what appears to be a flurry of sparks, which lasted for a number of seconds.

Thankfully, Sainz was able to get out of the car unscathed but engineers were forced to make several repairs to get the car back into a suitable state.

Sainz’s onboard camera showed the 29-year-old was travelling at high speed on the long DRS straight before appearing to pull his foot off the accelerator.

The car then jolted upright, with a message appearing on the dashboard telling him to stop immediately.

Speaking on the incident, Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur said: “He said he hit something on the track, but he didn’t know exactly what it was.

“The situation is that we damaged completely the monocoque, the engine, the battery. I think it is just unacceptable.

“We had a very tough FP1. This will cost us a fortune [to fix]. We want to be part of FP2 for sure, but we have to change the chassis and the cell of the car. This is just unacceptable.”