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.
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.
|2||94||Pascal Wehrlein||Mahindra Racing||22||1'09.620||0.347||108.175|
|3||64||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Mahindra Racing||18||1'10.087||0.814||107.455|
|6||11||Lucas di Grassi||Team Abt||21||1'10.618||1.345||106.647|
|8||7||Nico Müller||Dragon Racing||18||1'10.740||1.467||106.463|
|9||36||Andre Lotterer||Porsche Team||19||1'10.771||1.498||106.416|
|10||13||Antonio Felix da Costa||Techeetah||18||1'10.799||1.526||106.374|
|View full results|
|1||2||Sam Bird||Virgin Racing||15||1'07.672||111.289|
|2||13||Antonio Felix da Costa||Techeetah||16||1'07.791||0.119||111.094|
|3||20||Mitch Evans||Jaguar Racing||17||1'08.025||0.353||110.712|
|6||4||Robin Frijns||Virgin Racing||15||1'08.148||0.476||110.512|
|7||36||Andre Lotterer||Porsche Team||17||1'08.167||0.495||110.481|
|8||94||Pascal Wehrlein||Mahindra Racing||17||1'08.181||0.509||110.458|
|9||11||Lucas di Grassi||Team Abt||15||1'08.304||0.632||110.260|
|View full results|
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