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Australian GP qualifying red-flagged as Lance Stroll and Nicholas Latifi get in major smash


The crash saw Q1 red-flagged with two minutes of the session to go, taking out both Latifi and Stroll but giving Sebastian Vettel the chance to set a time

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Formula One preview: A lap of the Australian Grand Prix

A bizarre incident saw Nicholas Latifi and Lance Stroll crash out of qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix.

The crash happened with just two minutes to go in Q1, as Stroll was about to attempt his first and only hot lap after needing some extra time in the pits to get his Aston Martin ready for the session. But he never got the chance to set a time, as Formula 1‘s two Canadian racers collided.

The smash came about through an almighty mix-up, as Latifi allowed Stroll to pass him on a warm-up lap before deciding he wanted to be in front. As he attempted to dive up the inside, Stroll appeared to move over to the right and made contact with the Williams.

It left Latifi’s car spinning on the track and completely smashed up the rear end of his Williams, while Stroll also had to stop with damage to his front-right wheel which needed fixing. The session was stopped while the debris was cleared, meaning several drivers had to abort flying laps.

It did happen to help Stroll’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel, though, who did not look like he would be able to get out on track in time to set a lap. The delay helped his engineers to get the Aston Martin ready, though when the session did restart he did not manage to set a time quick enough to make it into Q2.






Lance Stroll and Nicholas Latifi crashed in qualifying

Latifi was clear in casting blame on his rival for the crash: “For me it’s quite clear, ” he told Sky Sports F1. “I’ve just seen a video before coming here – I just went to go back wide to prepare my out lap, and he just turned into me once I was alongside him.

“I let him through because he was pushing to open a lap, or so I was told. Then I saw he aborted the lap, so I wanted to start my own preparation lap so I went back by him. Obviously there was a big gap and once I got past him, for whatever reason he decided to turn.”

Qualifying was something of a write-off for both teams involved. The crash meant both drivers involved failed to make it out of Q1, while Vettel could manage only 18th despite eventually getting a lap in. Meanwhile, Latifi’s Williams team-mate Alex Albon also failed to make it to Q2 and pulled over at the end of the session with what appeared to be a mechanical problem.

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