Day one of the Formula 1 race weekend at the track in Monza, Italy, offered up a soaking wet track that led to plenty of spins and one massive crash for Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson.
The Swede’s car gave out just moments after DRS was opened in the second practice session on Friday afternoon. As he neared the first corner and hit the brake, the rear wing flap failed to engage and close, sending the back of the car flying out of the driver’s control. The moment his tires hit the soaking wet grass, the vehicle flew into the barrier, propelling it into the air. On its flight, the car flipped over a number of times, flying past track crew scrambling to get behind the barrier and out of the way of the flying debris.
The car finally came to a shuddering halt past the corner, with three axles broken and half the body of the car littering the opening straight of the track. Marshals immediately red flagged the session in order to remove the thousands of tiny pieces of car on the tarmac.
Fortunately, despite the spectacular-looking accident, Ericsson walked away without injury, quickly confirming with his crew over the radio that he had not suffered any serious injuries. The FIA also cleared him of any injury.
Happy to say I'm fine after that big crash today ????????????. Thanks for all your messages and support. Incredible how good the safety is today in @F1 . Looking forward to be back driving again tomorrow ???????????? #ME9 #ItalianGP #F12018 pic.twitter.com/4KHKDbOnbO— Marcus Ericsson (@Ericsson_Marcus) August 31, 2018
The driver was later seen walking through the pit lane, speaking to the media and confirming that he was fine after the crash.
Meanwhile, per Formula 1’s website, Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel suffered a gearbox issue in the first practice session, limiting his track-time to just four laps. The second session saw the championship contender running fastest by 0.25 of a second ahead of championship leader Lewis Hamilton at the Mercedes Driver’s fastest.
Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo will be starting near the back of the pack after being forced to replace the engine for the new Spec-C Renault Engine after the old one failed miserably at Spa last weekend. Even so, there were issues with the new power unit that left the Australian driver frustrated in the first practice session. Fortunately the issue was rectified, allowing him an uninterrupted second session.
Nico Hulkenberg has also been slapped with a 10-place grid penalty ahead of qualifying for his role in the horrific accident in Belgium that sent Fernando Alonso’s McLaren flying over the top of Charles Leclerc’s Sauber.