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There was around half an hour of opening practice remaining when Grosjean lost the rear end of his VF-18 at the ultra-quick Abbey Curve, sending him through the gravel and into the tyre barriers.
“The car is destroyed, I’m very, very sorry,” said Grosjean over Team Radio, before appearing to suggest that he’d accidentally failed to de-activate DRS after running over a bump.
That would explain why the rear of his car snapped away so quickly, because with the DRS flap open in the rear wing, the car is a lot less stable.
Despite his off, Grosjean ended the session in P7, suggesting Haas should be a competitive force once again this weekend. The Frenchman’s team mate Kevin Magnussen, meanwhile, ended up in P14, but was called to the stewards after the session following an on-track squabble with Fernando Alonso.
"Now it's just a normal day at the office," joked Team Principal Guenther Steiner in the FIA press conference. "One car we need to change the chassis and the other car the driver is with the stewards!"