F1 practice halted at Chinese Grand Prix track as fire breaks out leaving Sky Sports commentator in shock

Grass next to the Shanghai track caught fire during practice
-Credit:Sky Sports

Sky Sports F1 commentator David Croft was left in disbelief as a fire incident at the Chinese Grand Prix track forced a halt to the practice session.

During the weekend's only practice session in Shanghai, a fire broke out on a section of grass beside the circuit, leading race officials to swiftly red-flag the session due to the potential hazard. A marshal dashed to the spot and extinguished the blaze. When the session restarted, the aftermath was evident with a scorched area of grass clearly visible.

Thankfully, the track itself, which had been freshly painted for the weekend's races, remained unscathed. Croft, who has been the voice of Sky's F1 coverage for many years and witnessed numerous events, expressed his astonishment at the unusual interruption. "There's a fire by the side of the track - the grass has caught alight," he commented during the live coverage. "I don't think I have ever, ever seen grass catch fire by the side of the track. It's a small grass fire at the moment. I'd not even like to begin to speculate on that one.", reports the Mirror.

The occurrence was all the more startling given the heavy rainfall the day before, which would typically lessen the risk of such fires. However, pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz chimed in with a theory to address Croft's bewilderment.

Kravitz remarked: "The cars bottom out on the apex of that corner specifically. The cars bottom out, and they are producing sparks. With the wind blowing where it is, I can absolutely imagine that the reason for that fire was that there was a spark coming off the car's skid blocks, travelled downwind and hit the patch of dry grass."

In an unexpected twist at the end of the session, Lance Stroll unexpectedly topped the timesheets. However, it was largely a session from which teams and drivers gleaned little insight. Pierre Gasly didn't hide his displeasure, taking to the radio after practice to vent his frustration: "Guys, this is not acceptable," he exclaimed. "I haven't learned anything! Absolutely nothing! ".

Despite similar sentiments being felt across the grid, Gasly faced additional challenges due to technical issues with his vehicle. Alpine later confirmed the nature of the problem: "Pierre's FP1 session was compromised with an insulation issue with ERS [the Energy Recovery System]."

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