Footage of the incident, which took place 12 minutes into the first free practice session of the day, showed sparks flying before an array of material appeared to fly out of the back of Russell’s vehicle.
The manhole cover became loose after the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc drove over it earlier in the session, according to the official F1 website.
Russell was not injured in the incident but his car appeared to suffer severe damage and was towed back to the pit lane.
Race officials decided to end the session as track repairs were carried out, the F1 site reported.
Video showed what appeared to be a number of marshals putting the manhole cover back in place.
“How could they not have checked and sealed the drains” tweeted Lewis Hamilton. “Oh well, just gives me extra time to catch up on Game of Thrones.”
The Baku Grand Prix is a street race that utilizes the roads and streets around the center of the Azerbaijani capital.
Qualifying will take place on Saturday with Hamilton looking to extend his lead from Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari rivals Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel.