Punta ePrix: Di Grassi tops practice with new track record

Lucas di Grassi set a new Formula E track record in Punta del Este as he topped the second practice session for Audi Sport.

Punta ePrix: Di Grassi tops practice with new track record
Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
Sébastien Buemi, Renault e.Dams, returns to the pits with damage
Felix Rosenqvist, Mahindra Racing
Edoardo Mortara, Venturi Formula E Team

The reigning champion ended the latter session 0.408s clear of Virgin Racing driver Sam Bird, who just pipped Jaguar’s Mitch Evans to second place.

The top nine spots in the second session were filled by drivers from nine different teams.

Earlier in the day, Renault e.dams driver Sebastien Buemi set the fastest time in FP1, and the 2015/16 champion was one of the first drivers to go for a full power 200k/w effort in the second session.

But the former Toro Rosso Formula 1 driver encountered heavy traffic – a problem that impacted on drivers up and down the field throughout practice – and although he took the top spot, he was quickly shuffled down the order.

Championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne then briefly took first place before NIO driver Oliver Turvey usurped him at the head of the times.

The 30-minute second session was disrupted by a heavy crash for Andretti’s Tom Blomqvist, who clattered a big kerb at the second part of the Turn 10/11 chicane just after he clipped the wall running onto the back straight following the Turns 8 and 9 double left-hander.

The impact on the kerb swung Blomqvist’s car around and he hit the wall hard, destroying the left-rear.

After a six-minute delay, the session resumed to allow the drivers to make their final preparations ahead of qualifying and the race.

Di Grassi seized P1 with a lap of 1m13.672s, but only set a personal best time in the first sector, suggesting he could have gone faster.

Turvey improved his best time but was shuffled down to fourth by the late efforts of Evans and Bird.

Nico Prost jumped up to fifth late on to head Vergne and Edoardo Mortara.

Mortara damaged his car’s survival cell at the second chicane on the track’s return leg, Turn 14/15, during Friday’s shakedown, which necessitated an overnight change.

He was initially hit with a 10-place grid penalty, but had that rescinded by stewards because a “sufficient repair of the chassis is not possible” in Punta del Este.

Nick Heidfeld improved from 13th in FP1 to eighth overall following the second session, with Buemi’s traffic-hit laps meaning his best time from first practice put him ninth in the overall order.

Blomqvist rounded out the top 10 despite his crash, ahead of Virgin’s Alex Lynn.

Luca Filippi was 13th after practice and the NIO driver was reprimanded for his start practice following FP1 – the drivers are required to line up in single file when doing so.

He was then place under investigation during FP2 after allegedly speeding during the red flag.

Nelson Piquet, who spectacularly held an oversteer moment at the final hairpin late on, headed Mexico winner Daniel Abt and Techeetah driver Andre Lotterer in 16th.

Felix Rosenqvist set a purple first sector during a full power effort in FP2, but had to back out of the lap and wound up 20th and last overall, one spot behind his earlier finishing position in first practice.

FP1 results

Pos.#DriverTeamLapsTimeGap
1 9 switzerland Sébastien Buemi france DAMS 24 1'14.536  
2 20 new_zealand Mitch Evans united_kingdom Jaguar Racing 19 1'14.879 0.343
3 1 brazil Lucas di Grassi germany Team Abt 26 1'14.941 0.405
4 36 united_kingdom Alex Lynn united_kingdom Virgin Racing 24 1'15.036 0.500
5 25 france Jean-Eric Vergne china Techeetah 27 1'15.098 0.562
6 2 united_kingdom Sam Bird united_kingdom Virgin Racing 24 1'15.129 0.593
7 3 brazil Nelson Piquet Jr. united_kingdom Jaguar Racing 24 1'15.176 0.640
8 16 united_kingdom Oliver Turvey china NIO Formula E Team 25 1'15.357 0.821
9 66 germany Daniel Abt germany Team Abt 24 1'15.513 0.977
10 8 france Nicolas Prost france DAMS 24 1'15.584 1.048
11 4 italy Edoardo Mortara monaco Venturi 27 1'15.626 1.090
12 18 germany Andre Lotterer china Techeetah 25 1'15.635 1.099
13 23 germany Nick Heidfeld india Mahindra Racing 22 1'15.876 1.340
14 7 belgium Jérôme d'Ambrosio united_states Dragon Racing 24 1'15.908 1.372
15 5 germany Maro Engel monaco Venturi 24 1'16.107 1.571
16 28 portugal Antonio Felix da Costa united_states Andretti Autosport 25 1'16.132 1.596
17 6 argentina Jose Maria Lopez united_states Dragon Racing 20 1'16.162 1.626
18 27 united_kingdom Tom Blomqvist united_states Andretti Autosport 22 1'16.216 1.680
19 19 sweden Felix Rosenqvist india Mahindra Racing 29 1'16.369 1.833
20 68 italy Luca Filippi china NIO Formula E Team 25 1'16.570 2.034

FP2 results

Pos.#DriverTeamLapsTimeGap
1 1 brazil Lucas di Grassi germany Team Abt 13 1'13.672  
2 2 united_kingdom Sam Bird united_kingdom Virgin Racing 14 1'14.080 0.408
3 20 new_zealand Mitch Evans united_kingdom Jaguar Racing 14 1'14.135 0.463
4 16 united_kingdom Oliver Turvey china NIO Formula E Team 13 1'14.267 0.595
5 8 france Nicolas Prost france DAMS 12 1'14.270 0.598
6 25 france Jean-Eric Vergne china Techeetah 9 1'14.400 0.728
7 4 italy Edoardo Mortara monaco Venturi 15 1'14.408 0.736
8 23 germany Nick Heidfeld india Mahindra Racing 12 1'14.504 0.832
9 27 united_kingdom Tom Blomqvist united_states Andretti Autosport 13 1'14.536 0.864
10 36 united_kingdom Alex Lynn united_kingdom Virgin Racing 14 1'14.602 0.930
11 9 switzerland Sébastien Buemi france DAMS 11 1'14.679 1.007
12 28 portugal Antonio Felix da Costa united_states Andretti Autosport 10 1'14.868 1.196
13 68 italy Luca Filippi china NIO Formula E Team 13 1'15.042 1.370
14 7 belgium Jérôme d'Ambrosio united_states Dragon Racing 11 1'15.070 1.398
15 5 germany Maro Engel monaco Venturi 17 1'15.071 1.399
16 3 brazil Nelson Piquet Jr. united_kingdom Jaguar Racing 13 1'15.170 1.498
17 66 germany Daniel Abt germany Team Abt 13 1'15.624 1.952
18 18 germany Andre Lotterer china Techeetah 10 1'15.700 2.028
19 6 argentina Jose Maria Lopez united_states Dragon Racing 12 1'15.712 2.040
20 19 sweden Felix Rosenqvist india Mahindra Racing 14 1'15.859 2.187

 

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