Williams fears it will be forced to change the chassis on George Russell's car following an incident involving a loose manhole cover in opening practice for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Friday.

Russell struck the manhole cover just 15 minutes into FP1 at the Baku City Circuit, causing damage to the underside of his Williams FW42 car and leaving debris across the track.

The session was red flagged before being abandoned altogether so that circuit checks can take place, with more than 300 manhole covers located around the track.

"I just hit it and got the biggest smack through my body," Russell told Sky Sports.

"The engine turned off and ruined the floor. I’m a bit worried for the chassis now. Not ideal. Not what we need at this stage, but one of these things."

Williams deputy team boss Claire Williams echoed Russell's concerns about the possibility of a chassis change.

"I think it’s clear from the data and I think clear from what everyone can see that there is probably quite a lot of damage to the floor and the car," Williams said in a subsequent interview with Sky Sports.

"We’ll have to wait and see whether that chassis is repairable or whether we need to go to our third chassis. But clearly not what you want and clearly not what you expect from a Formula 1 track.

"You expect those manholes to be welded down. We’ll be picking that up with race control."

Russell's car was brought back to the pits on the back of a truck, but was left covered in hydraulic fluid after the crane that lifted it onto the low loader struck the underside of a bridge at speed.

Circuit checks are now taking place, with FP2 due to begin at 2pm BST on Friday.



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