Punta ePrix: Buemi tops first practice as Bird crashes

Sebastien Buemi topped the timesheets for the opening practice session for the Punta del Este ePrix, as Sam Bird crashed his DS Virgin machine in the closing stages.

The British driver struck the barriers exiting the Turn 5-6 chicane, having broken his front-right suspension clipping the wall at the first apex, bringing out the red flags with eight minutes of the session remaining.

Prior to that, Bird had set the pace with a best time of 1m16.327s, the only lap that had been completed using the full 200kW of power, to go 1.2s clear of Lucas Di Grassi.

But once the session resumed with four minutes to go, Renault e.dams driver Buemi embarked on a full power lap of his own, smashing Bird’s time by a full 1.1s with a 1m15.179s.

Bird was therefore demoted to second, ahead of di Grassi and Jean-Eric Vergne, who had brought out the first red flags when his DS Virgin ground to a halt after 10 minutes.

The Frenchman then failed to clear the track by the time the session resumed, causing another brief red flag interruption before proceedings got going again in earnest.

Robin Frijns made a late improvement to fifth for Andretti, ahead of Nicolas Prost (Renault edams), Stephane Sarrazin (Venturi) and the Dragon Racing duo of Jerome D’Ambrosio and Loic Duval.

Nelson Piquet Jr completed the top 10, his NEXTEV teammate Oliver Turvey losing time after a brief stoppage in the pit entry.

Practice results:

1 SwitzerlandSébastien Buemi  FranceDAMS 1:15.179 1:15.179
2 United KingdomSam Bird  United KingdomVirgin Racing 1:16.327 +1.148
3 BrazilLucas di Grassi  GermanyAudi Sport Team Abt 1:17.155 +1.976
4 FranceJean-Eric Vergne  United KingdomVirgin Racing 1:17.930 +2.751
5 NetherlandsRobin Frijns  United StatesAndretti Autosport 1:18.052 +2.873
6 FranceNicolas Prost  FranceDAMS 1:18.101 +2.922
7 FranceStéphane Sarrazin  MonacoVenturi 1:18.118 +2.939
8 BelgiumJérôme d'Ambrosio  United StatesDragon Racing 1:18.175 +2.996
9 FranceLoic Duval  United StatesDragon Racing 1:18.274 +3.095
10 BrazilNelson Piquet Jr.  ChinaChina Racing 1:18.292 +3.113
11 PortugalAntonio Felix da Costa JapanTeam Aguri 1:18.415 +3.236
12 GermanyDaniel Abt  GermanyAudi Sport Team Abt 1:18.421 +3.242
13  Oliver Rowland IndiaMahindra Racing 1:18.428 +3.249
14 BrazilBruno Senna  IndiaMahindra Racing 1:19.053 +3.874
15 United KingdomOliver Turvey  ChinaChina Racing 1:19.120 +3.941
16 FranceNathanael Berthon  JapanTeam Aguri 1:19.305 +4.126
17 SwitzerlandSimona de Silvestro  United StatesAndretti Autosport 1:19.639 +4.460
18 CanadaJacques Villeneuve  MonacoVenturi 1:20.338 +5.159
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About this article
Series Formula E
Event Punta del Este ePrix
Track Streets of Punta del Este
Drivers Lucas di Grassi , Sam Bird , Sébastien Buemi , Jean-Eric Vergne
Article type Practice report