WILLIAMS have been left frustrated after a loose manhole cover ruined their first day of practice in Azerbaijan.

The Grove-based team saw George Russell sustain serious damage to his car in Baku this morning.

The incident forced first practice to be cancelled.

Safety concerns have now been raised ahead of Sunday’s Formula 1 Grand Prix, although the second session did go ahead.

However, due to regulations, Russell is unable to run again until tomorrow morning after the chassis was changed.

To make matters worse, the recovery crane carrying the car collided with a temporary footbridge and leaked hydraulic fluid all over the car.

Deputy team principal Claire Williams said: “It’s clearly not what we want and it’s not what you expect from a Formula 1 track.

“These drain covers are supposed to be bolted down.”

Russell added: “I got the biggest smack through my body, and the whole engine turned off.

“We were on the normal racing line and it’s completely ruined our session. It’s not what we need at this stage.”

Meanwhile, Haas are looking for a resolution to their tyre problem.

The Banbury team have had no issues on a Saturday, qualifying in the top ten in Australia, Bahrain and China.

But they are unable to show that pace in a race, with Kevin Magnussen’s sixth place in Melbourne their only point-scoring finish.

Grosjean, one of only five drivers yet to get off the mark this season, is hoping they can find an answer in Baku.

He said: “The grip is going. We have good grip in qualifying.

“On new tyres, the car is amazing, but when we go into the race, we’re losing the grip and things become a bit more complicated.

“That’s the problem we’re facing at the moment.

“It’s probably coming from the way we use the tyres.

“We haven’t managed to get on top of it yet. That’s our number one priority for the next few races.”

Enstone-based Renault have endured a mixed start to the season, with Nico Hulkenberg hoping to finish in the top ten for the first time since the opening race weekend.

The German will need a change of luck in Azerbaijan, though, as it is a circuit he is yet to complete.

“The race is interesting year on year,” he said.

“I’ve been a little unlucky for the past two seasons there, but you have to be in the right place at the right time to capitalise on any opportunity.”