​​Thick black smoke coming from the Aramco factory was clearly visible from the circuit and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, unaware of the incident, asked on his team radio: “I smell burning - is it my car?”

A statement from F1 said: “We are waiting for further information from the authorities on what has happened.”

Yemen's Houthis rebels have claimed responsibility for the attack. Just days ago, they attacked the same location.

Local reports in Saudi Arabia have acknowledged these latest attacks on Friday as a "hostile operation".

Saudi Arabia and Yemen have been involved in a long-running conflict.

The fire is less than 20km from the race track, where Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc followed up last week’s win at the Bahrain Grand Prix by setting the pace at Practice 1 ahead of the second round of the championship.

F2 qualifying began after the fire, however Practice Two for F1 was delayed by 15 minutes because drivers and team bosses were called into an urgent meeting with F1 president Stefano Domenicali.

They have now emerged and Practice Two is underway.



FOLLOW LIVE UPDATES: Fire ahead of Saudi Arabian Grand Prix