Practice action begins, but sick Stroll is absent

Nürburgring (Germany) (AFP) –


On-track action at this weekend’s Eifel Grand Prix finally began on Saturday morning, but with Lance Stroll of Racing Point absent due to an unspecified illness.

After both opening practice sessions were cancelled due to fog and rain on Friday, the Canadian driver was a notable absentee as the rest of the field made an effort to use the third and final practice hour as intensely as possible.

The Racing Point team confirmed that Stroll was unwell and not able to take part in the session, adding that a decision on their plans for qualifying later on Saturday would be reviewed after the opening practice.

It was not made clear if Stroll had contracted Covid-19.

His team-mate Sergio Perez was quarantined for two weeks after returning from Mexico and testing positive for the coronavirus ahead of the British Grand Prix in July.

The Mercedes team were hit this week by two positive test results in their travelling race team, resulting in six of the team going into isolation. Six replacement staff were flown to Germany to replace them on Thursday.

Conditions at the Nurburgring remained cool with an air temperature of only eight degrees and a track temperature of 14 as the teams began a major ‘catch up’ process on F1’s first return to the track since 2013.

Series leader and six-time champion Lewis Hamilton was in the first bunch of cars to join the action with his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, the pair lapping to gather data on the cold circuit.