New York ePrix: Di Grassi tops incident-packed FP1

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New York ePrix: Di Grassi tops incident-packed FP1
Charles Bradley
By: Charles Bradley
Jul 14, 2018, 12:30 PM

Audi’s Lucas di Grassi set the pace in the first free practice session for the Formula E title decider in New York, a session marred by two red flags that seriously reduced track time.

The track was very dusty at the start of the 45-minute session, illustrated as Felix Rosenqvist suffered a huge slide and just kept his Mahindra out of the barrier.

With barely 10 minutes on the clock, his teammate Nick Heidfeld crashed at Turn 12, with Daniel Abt in close proximity, as Andre Lotterer, Alex Lynn and Sam Bird quickly screeched to halt behind.

That caused a red flag as the entire field eventually became stacked-up behind the stationary German.

A second red flag was soon required as Jose Maria Lopez broke his Dragon’s right-rear suspension on the kerb at Turn 12, and he got stuck in the pit lane entry.

“It looks like the kerbing sheared off the rear suspension,” said team chief Jay Penske.

After a lengthy recovery process, there were only nine minutes remaining – before another 10 minutes were added to the session to make up for the delays.

NIO’s Oliver Turvey had set the early pace with a lap of 1m15.417s, before Sebastien Buemi and title-contender Bird swapped the top spot between them.

Di Grassi hit the top with a lap of 1m14.236s, just before Nelson Piquet’s Jaguar stopped on Pioneer Street on the exit of Turn 12. He was able to restart the car and drive back to the pits.

Di Grassi improved to 1m14.017s, before Buemi broke the 1m14s barrier with 1m13.916s. Di Grassi wouldn’t be denied, however, setting a 1m13.566s despite encountering traffic in the middle sector.

Buemi was 0.350s slower in second, ahead of Jaguar’s Mitch Evans.

Of the title contenders, Vergne was fourth, 0.722s off the pace, and Bird sixth, just 0.03s slower than Vergne. Abt was between them in fifth.

Venturi’s Maro Engel was a late crasher, but escaped with only minor damage.

Practice results:

Pos.#DriverTeamTimeGap
1 1 brazil Lucas di Grassi  germany Team Abt 1'13.566  
2 9 switzerland Sébastien Buemi  france DAMS 1'13.916 0.350
3 20 new_zealand Mitch Evans  united_kingdom Jaguar Racing 1'14.027 0.461
4 25 france Jean-Eric Vergne  china Techeetah 1'14.288 0.722
5 66 germany Daniel Abt  germany Team Abt 1'14.310 0.744
6 2 united_kingdom Sam Bird  united_kingdom Virgin Racing 1'14.336 0.770
7 6 argentina Jose Maria Lopez  united_states Dragon Racing 1'14.342 0.776
8 16 united_kingdom Oliver Turvey  china NIO Formula E Team 1'14.364 0.798
9 36 united_kingdom Alex Lynn  united_kingdom Virgin Racing 1'14.373 0.807
10 18 germany Andre Lotterer  china Techeetah 1'14.441 0.875
11 19 sweden Felix Rosenqvist  india Mahindra Racing 1'14.590 1.024
12 7 belgium Jérôme d'Ambrosio  united_states Dragon Racing 1'14.690 1.124
13 8 france Nicolas Prost  france DAMS 1'14.714 1.148
14 3 brazil Nelson Piquet Jr.  united_kingdom Jaguar Racing 1'14.849 1.283
15 28 portugal Antonio Felix da Costa  united_states Andretti Autosport 1'14.935 1.369
16 27 france Stéphane Sarrazin  united_states Andretti Autosport 1'15.056 1.490
17 4 france Tom Dillmann  monaco Venturi 1'15.165 1.599
18 23 germany Nick Heidfeld  india Mahindra Racing 1'15.242 1.676
19 5 germany Maro Engel  monaco Venturi 1'15.566 2.000
20 68 italy Luca Filippi  china NIO Formula E Team 1'16.102 2.536
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About this article

Series Formula E
Event New York ePrix
Location Brooklyn Street Circuit
Drivers Lucas di Grassi
Author Charles Bradley
Article type Practice report