Replays show his Ferrari car, at speeds of over 200mph, went over a loose drain cover before the Spaniard veered to the side and stopped the car due to substantial floor damage.
A red flag was thrown and, shortly after, the stewards announced the session would not resume. The Independent understands more than one drain cover on track came loose during those opening minutes of the session, meaning all of them around the 3.8-mile circuit had to be double-checked before cars can go back out on track.
The FIA stated: “Following inspection, it was the concrete frame around a manhole cover that has failed.
“We now need to check all of the other manhole covers which will take some time.
“We will be discussing with the local circuit engineering team about the length of time it will take to resolve and will update with any resultant changes to the schedule.”
Second practice did eventually take place at 2:30am local time, two-and-a-half hours later than scheduled, with 90 minutes of run time.
Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur later labelled the incident “unacceptable” in a fiery rant at Formula 1.
Alpine also announced that Esteban Ocon’s chassis would be changed due to damage from the drain cover.
It is a shambolic start to the race weekend for Formula 1, who are the sole promoters of the first race on the streets of Sin City.
Fans in the grandstands jeered when the news came over the PA system that the session would be aborted.
A similar incident involving a manhole occurred in Azerbaijan in 2019, when George Russell’s Williams car sustained damage in practice after driving over a drain cover in Baku.