Practice delayed as fire burns near Saudi Arabian Grand Prix circuit in Jeddah

Practice Delayed As Fire Burns Near Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Circuit In Jeddah
A fire near Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the location of Sunday's Grand Prix, © AP/Press Association Images
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By Philip Duncan, PA F1 Correspondent, Jeddah

Formula One is awaiting news from the Saudi Arabian authorities after a blaze broke out 12 miles from the Jeddah circuit.

Smoke billowed across the track, reportedly from an oil depot, as Lewis Hamilton and his fellow F1 drivers took part in the opening running of the weekend.


The cause of the fire was not immediately known, but it comes only days after an attack on an oil depot in Jeddah.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc finished fastest in the opening session ahead of world champion Verstappen. Hamilton was ninth for Mercedes.

The second running was due to start at 8pm (5pm UK) but was expected to be delayed by around 15 minutes as the drivers and team principals were called to see F1 boss Stefano Domenicali, who has briefed them on this evening’s events and how they are being handled by the local authorities.


World champion Max Verstappen reported to his Red Bull team over the radio that he could detect the smoke during first practice.

“I smell a bit of a burning feeling,” said the Dutchman. “I am not sure if it is my car, or another car.”

His engineer Gianpiero Lambiase replied: “We are happy it is not your car.”

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