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Di Grassi fastest in Santiago FP1

After a slow start to the session, Lucas di Grassi topped the times in the first free practice ahead of the Santiago ePrix, ahead of Mahindra’s Pascal Wehrlein and Virgin’s Sam Bird.

Di Grassi had been running 11th in the closing stages of the session while his fellow Audi powered drivers locked out the top 3 positions.

Wehrlein was the first to break the Audi domination, jumping to the top of the times in the final five minutes with a 1m08.776s, only for di Grassi to go a tenth of a second quicker on his final lap of the session.

The Audi driver ended the morning with a 1m08.630s, 0.146s faster than Wehrlein.

Virgin Racing spent most of the session top of the order. Robin Frijns was the first to set a time quicker than 1m10s around the new Santiago circuit, before Bird lowered the bar to 1m08.988s.

Bird ended the session third, ahead of Frijns and Jean-Eric Vergne.

Maximilian Guenther was the first driver to run into trouble, coming to a stop at the chicane on his out lap, but the first red flags of the weekend were brought out by Nissan’s Sebastien Buemi.

Just over 10 minutes into the session, Buemi appeared to lock up at turn seven. He couldn’t get his Nissan stopped in time and ran into the wall, prompted an extended red flag period as marshals retrieved the car.

10 minutes were added to the session and the track turned green again with 26 mintues on the clock, but it would be the end of Buemi’s session. With the extent of the damage to his car still unknown, it’s possible he may be forced to miss FP2.

Stoffel Vandoorne also briefly brought out the yellow flags when he came to a stop on track, but he was able to get going again under his own power.

Antonio Felix da Costa ended the session sixth fastest, ahead of Oliver Turvey and Andre Lotterer.

Daniel Abt had been running third in the closing stages of the session but a flurry of fast laps dropped him back to P9.

Early pace setter Jerome D’Ambrosio completed the top 10.

Free Practice 2 gets underway at 10am local time.

1LucasDI GRASSI2501:08.630
6Antonio FelixDA COSTA270.845
17José MariaLOPEZ261.387

Bethonie Waring

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