Bahrain morning session red flagged by repeat drain cover issue

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Friday’s final day of pre-season testing in Bahrain was disrupted once again, as a repeat issue with a loose drain cover brought out the red flag just 27 minutes into the morning session.

This marked the second such incident in as many days, raising concerns about track safety and preparation, and once again the drama unfolded at Turn 11, the scene of yesterday’s drain cover incident.

Located on the outside of the corner’s kerb, near the racing line, the cover apparently became dislodged after Red Bull's Sergio Perez ran over it during his early laps.

Importantly, Perez stayed within track limits, highlighting the inherent weakness of the cover rather than driver error.

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This incident echoed a similar problem on Thursday morning, where the same cover seemingly came loose after two hours of running. The recurrence sparked worries about potential damage to cars and safety risks for drivers.

F1 race director Niels Wittich took matters into his own hands, personally driving the medical car to the scene to assess the damage and determine the necessary course of action.

Track crews immediately assessed the problem and went to work to fix it. F1 eventually communicated that the session would get back under at 11:45 local time.

However, to account for the lost track time, F1 has opted to run the session nonstop until 7:00pm (4:00pm GMT), with no lunch break.

Team are nevertheless likely to pause their work to undertake their scheduled driver change which requires in most cases a few cockpit adjustments.

At the time this morning session's was paused, Thursday pacesetter Carlos Sainz topped the leaderboard for Ferrari courtesy of a 1min31.247sec lap, putting him 0.861s ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris.

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