Police were seen clearing out the grandstands shortly before FP2 got underway after a delay of two-and-a-half hours while drain cover fixes were implemented. 

It came after opening practice was cancelled after just eight minutes when Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz struck a loose water valve cover, causing damage to both his car and Esteban Ocon’s Alpine. 

Sky Sports News’ Craig Slater reported that fans “waited patiently” for up to five hours in the hope of seeing some action before being told to leave at 1.30am local time. 

Slater said he understood this was “due to the contract of the staff members here elapsing at that time” but added “there was no prior warning that this could happen”. 

“Ridiculous,” one fan told Sky. “We waited for four hours and they gave us hope by saying ‘at 2am we’re going to have the race’. 

“But nothing happened. And now they are telling us to leave. So what a night!”

Another explained: “We came from Los Angeles, we flew only for today. We spent the money for the airplane, the tickets for this place, and nothing.”

One said: “I’ve been here for the last two-to-three hours at least and then we were asked to leave. 

“We were not sure if the practice is still going to go ahead or not but the fans were asked to leave. It was kind of disappointing.”

Another added: “There was optimism and hope that it would continue. We got 10 minutes at the beginning and then we sat, we waited, we hung out. 

“The food was good, drinks were good, but we sat and nothing happened.”

The organisers of the race issued the following statement: "There is no higher priority at a Formula 1 race than the safety and security of drivers, fans and staff alike. 

"Following last night's incident involving a water valve cover, the Las Vegas Grand Prix, F1 and the FIA decided to take extra precautions to ensure the integrity of the track prior to the resumption of racing. 

"These additional measures required multiple hours to fully complete, which led to a significant delay in the race schedule.

"Given the lateness of the hour and logistical concerns regarding the safe movement of fans and employees out of the circuit, LVGP made the difficult decision to close the fan zones prior to the beginning of Free Practice 2. 

"With a full round of practice successfully completed, LVGP looks forward to providing a safe and entertaining race weekend for all."