F1 testing suspended again on day three due to same loose drain cover issue

Formula 1 testing was suspended again early on day three due to a loose drain cover - at the same part of the track which had a similar issue on Thursday.

Lewis Hamilton, driving in the W15 for the first time ahead of his final season with Mercedes, ran over the loose cover on the edge of the kerb at turn 11 on Thursday.

And just 20 minutes into the morning session on Friday, Sergio Perez in his Red Bull drove over the kerb at turn 11, triggering the loose drain cover.

On Thursday, the session was suspended and then cancelled with one hour left. Today, the session was delayed by just over an hour - with the morning and afternoon sessions combining and testing running through until 4pm (GMT) without a break for lunch.

It is a similar scenario to the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix in November, with practice on opening night delayed for hours after Carlos Sainz ran over a loose manhole cover on the world-famous strip.

Fans saw just eight minutes of cars on track that day in Vegas, with practice resuming without spectators in the stands.

Spectators are present at testing on Friday, with those who have a ticket for next week’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix permitted access to the circuit for the last two days of testing.

Circuit officials inspect the loose drain cover in Bahrain (Getty Images)
Circuit officials inspect the loose drain cover in Bahrain (Getty Images)

Carlos Sainz was the quickest man in testing on Thursday, with Sergio Perez in second and Hamilton in third.

Verstappen, the favourite this season to claim his fourth straight title, was the fastest man on Wednesday.