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Chinese GP session forced to stop due to 'never-before-seen' fire that left F1 commentators stunned

Chinese GP session forced to stop due to 'never-before-seen' fire that left F1 commentators stunned

A bizarre way to kick off the Chinese Grand Prix weekend.

The first session of this weekend's F1 Chinese Grand Prix had to be red-flagged due to a bizarre trackside fire.

F1 is returning to the Shanghai International Circuit for the first time in five years, with the previous editions being cancelled due to various COVID restrictions.

A popular circuit among drivers and fans, there have nonetheless been concerns raised around the condition of the track heading into the weekend.

It was reported earlier this week that the track had not been resurfaced ahead of the Grand Prix weekend, but instead painted over.

And there was more drama during the first practice session when a fire broke out next to the track.

But rather than an object catching fire, it was instead a section of the grass that adorned the side of the track.

You can see the fire below.

The incident even left veteran F1 commentator David Croft shocked.

He exclaimed: "There's a fire by the side of the track - the grass has caught alight.

"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 [how it happened]..."

But Sky F1 reporter Ted Kravitz attempted to explain what he believed caused the incident: "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."

Fortunately for fans, the session did resume once the fire had been extinguished, with Aston Martin's Lance Stroll topping the timesheets.

The F1 sprint qualifying takes place at 8am UK time on Friday morning as the grid is set for tomorrow's sprint race, which gets underway at 4am.

Featured Image Credit: Sky Sports

Topics:Β Formula 1