Tornado caught on camera over Sochi as F1 Russian Grand Prix practice is scrapped... but Hamilton is skipping in the rain (VIDEO)
A dramatic tornado has been captured over Sochi in a video from a motorway – with freak weather conditions threatening Formula One qualifying as champion Lewis Hamilton skipped down the track under an umbrella.
Torrential rain has lashed the region as the Russian Grand Prix weekend attempts to continue, leaving organizers with an anxious wait to discover whether qualifying can go ahead on Saturday after a practice session was scrapped.
Those hopes took another blow as a tornado was filmed from a car, compounding fears that were raised by the sight of thunder and lightning at the track that have led to this weekend's Formula Two opener being postponed.
"This is crazy," said Briton Hamilton, who is likely to be keener than most to make sure the race goes smoothly after his Mercedes team dominated the sessions on Friday.
Hamilton then skipped up the track and leapt into the air under an umbrella as he cheerily targets overtaking standings leader Max Verstappen on a track that is looking a safe bet to be somewhat slick ahead of Sunday's race.
“If qualifying isn’t able to happen today, as we’ve seen a few times before in the past, then we will re-do a program and hold qualifying on Sunday morning," said FIA Race Director Michael Masi.
That could mean move the session, which is due to take place at 3pm local time, to Sunday morning if the extreme weather persists.
The first Formula 3 race was moved to Friday evening because of the conditions, with Norwegian Dennis Hauger being crowned champion.
“In the interest of safety, [the decision has been taken] to modify the Official Program by canceling Free Practice Session 3 due to Force Majeure,” an announcement from the race stewards said about the practice, which had been scheduled for midday.
“For the purposes of the regulations and associated time limits, Free Practice Session 3 will be considered as having taken place, except where otherwise advised by the Race Director.”
There appeared to be a glimpse of sun in Sochi as the afternoon unfolded. “As we can see already this morning, the weather’s gone up and down like a yoyo, and the intensity of the rain has been increasing, with some thunder also joining us,” Masi had said earlier.
“But effectively, the procedure today will be that we will aim to start all sessions, get everything ready from an operational perspective and then judge the conditions at the time.
“The priority from today’s perspective is obviously Formula 1 qualifying this afternoon."
Masi called the move to switch the Formula Three race "absolutely the right decision".
"It was torrential at the time we would have been having the F3 race. So we did that and now we’ll just sort of look at the day ahead and just take it step by step.”Also on rt.com ‘I was so worried’: F1 king Hamilton praises ‘courageous’ mechanic after plowing into him with car in pit at Russian GP (VIDEO)