A stray dog brought an eventful second practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix to a halt after Alexander Albon crashed out at high speed.
Six-time World Champions Lewis Hamilton celebrated his coronation by being the fastest in both sessions at the Sakhir Circuit, but the practice was not without drama.
A stray dog remarkably brought the Bahrain Grand Prix practice to a halt
First, the London-born Albon did his decreasing hopes of salvaging a seat with Red Bull few favours when he lost control of his car through the final corner.
After being elevated from AlphaTauri to Red Bull midway through his rookie season, Albon, 24, has endured a troubled second campaign.
And facing mounting speculation here that he will be replaced by Racing Point’s Sergio Perez in 2021, Albon wrote off his Red Bull.
The Thai driver emerged unscathed from the accident, but his Red Bull mechanics were on Friday night facing a hefty repair job following severe damage to the front and rear of Albon’s Red Bull machine.
Lewis Hamilton celebrated his title coronation by finishing fastest in both sessionsGETTY IMAGES
The running, under the 495 bulbs that light up the circuit here in Manama, was brought to an immediate halt – but only moments after Albon’s stricken car had been removed and the safety barrier patched up, the 90-minute session was red-flagged again when a stray dog broke through a fence and galloped on to the circuit.
Eight drivers on the track at the time gingerly returned to the pits and a five-minute delay ensued.
Peter Bonnington, Hamilton’s race engineer, informed his star driver of the dog at the opening bend.
Session ‘Paws-ed’ in Bahrain #BahrainGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/Ml4F4CUg0r
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 27, 2020
The world champion replied: “I hope it is not Roscoe”, in reference to his pet bulldog who has accompanied the newly crowned seven-time world champion to Bahrain.
Despite the eventful on-track action, it was business as usual for Hamilton at the front.
Hamilton finished almost four tenths clear of Red Bull’s
Max Verstappen, with Valtteri Bottas third in the other Mercedes. Perez was fourth.