Mexico City E-Prix: Bird tops practice, Abt taken to hospital

Envision Virgin Racing driver Sam Bird topped the combined Formula E practice times ahead of the Mexico City E-Prix, while Audi’s Daniel Abt was flown to hospital.

Mexico City E-Prix: Bird tops practice, Abt taken to hospital

Bird, who won the opening race of the 2019-20 season in Saudi Arabia, posted a benchmark time of 1min07.673sec with three minutes to run in the second practice session.

He headed a flurry of drivers to post a late 250kW full-power flying lap, leading the way over the DS Techeetah of Antonio Felix da Costa by 0.119s.

At the halfway stage of the run Jaguar driver Mitch Evans went quickest on a 1m08.509s, although remained under investigation for exceeding track limits at Turn 16.

He then improved late on by 0.5s to climb to an eventual third, but that included losing three tenths in the second sector.

The 2015-16 champion, Sebastien Buemi – yet to score a point this season – ran fourth ahead of Mercedes driver and points leader Stoffel Vandoorne.

Behind Robin Frijns was Andre Lotterer and the Mahindra of Pascal Wehrlein. Both he and teammate Jerome d’Ambrosio will start from the back of the grid after resorting to a third gearbox already this season.

Lucas di Grassi was ninth quickest, as reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne rounded out the top 10.

The DS Techeetah pilot had set the fastest opening sector by four tenths, but lost that time again in the second part of the lap.

Santiago E-Prix winner Max Gunther was only 16th following a session in which he shunted into the barrier at Turn 9 after a big lock up under braking.

Edoardo Mortara was just 21st, having topped a shortened opening practice run thank to a 1m09.273s benchmark on a still-drying track after thunderstorms the previous night.

That gave the Venturi driver a 0.347s cushion over Wehrlein, who in turn out-paced D’Ambrosio and Felipe Massa.

Abt brought out a red flag in the first free practice session when he shunted heavily with 12 minutes to go.

The Audi driver appeared to have a car failure as he ploughed straight on at Turn 9 – where the circuit enters the stadium section after a long back straight – and wound up buried in the TecPro barrier.

After triggering a G-force meter, Abt was taken to hospital by helicopter – due to distance rather than severity – for further examination as a precautionary measure. The session did not resume owing to the lengthy circuit repairs required.

That caused a subsequent 25-minute delay to the start of qualifying for the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy support series, and that session was then abandoned altogether.

Abt was unable to take part in second practice; meanwhile, his Audi team was constructing a new car around teammate di Grassi’s spare tub.

Audi has since confirmed Abt will not take part in qualifying, but he is expected to be able to race. It doesn't have a designated reserve driver available in Mexico.

FP1 results

Cla # Driver Team Laps Time Gap km/h
1 48 Switzerland Edoardo Mortara Monaco Venturi 19 1'09.273   108.717
2 94 Germany Pascal Wehrlein India Mahindra Racing 22 1'09.620 0.347 108.175
3 64 Belgium Jérôme d'Ambrosio India Mahindra Racing 18 1'10.087 0.814 107.455
4 19 Brazil Felipe Massa Monaco Venturi 21 1'10.326 1.053 107.089
5 5 Belgium Stoffel Vandoorne Germany Mercedes 20 1'10.410 1.137 106.962
6 11 Brazil Lucas di Grassi Germany Team Abt 21 1'10.618 1.345 106.647
7 23 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi France DAMS 22 1'10.667 1.394 106.573
8 7 Switzerland Nico Müller United States Dragon Racing 18 1'10.740 1.467 106.463
9 36 Germany Andre Lotterer Germany Porsche Team 19 1'10.771 1.498 106.416
10 13 Portugal Antonio Felix da Costa China Techeetah 18 1'10.799 1.526 106.374

FP2 results

Cla # Driver Team Laps Time Gap km/h
1 2 United Kingdom Sam Bird United Kingdom Virgin Racing 15 1'07.672   111.289
2 13 Portugal Antonio Felix da Costa China Techeetah 16 1'07.791 0.119 111.094
3 20 New Zealand Mitch Evans United Kingdom Jaguar Racing 17 1'08.025 0.353 110.712
4 23 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi France DAMS 17 1'08.085 0.413 110.614
5 5 Belgium Stoffel Vandoorne Germany Mercedes 17 1'08.103 0.431 110.585
6 4 Netherlands Robin Frijns United Kingdom Virgin Racing 15 1'08.148 0.476 110.512
7 36 Germany Andre Lotterer Germany Porsche Team 17 1'08.167 0.495 110.481
8 94 Germany Pascal Wehrlein India Mahindra Racing 17 1'08.181 0.509 110.458
9 11 Brazil Lucas di Grassi Germany Team Abt 15 1'08.304 0.632 110.260
10 25 France Jean-Eric Vergne China Techeetah 16 1'08.354 0.682 110.179
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