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Bird sets the pace in second Diriyah practice

Sam Bird set the pace in the second free practice session ahead of qualifying for the Diriyah E-Prix.

Bird set a 1m14.353s lap around the Saudi circuit, which has been modified since this morning’s free practice one, to go almost eight tenths of a second quicker than Antonio Felix Da Costa.

Eduardo Mortara was third quickest, ahead of Sebastien Buemi and Oliver Rowland.

After Brendon Hartley collided with the wall due to the crumbling track surface in FP1, the corner has been reprofiled with the inside wall being brought closer to the outside, narrowing the track and covering the worst of the track surface.

Many drivers ran into traffic while on their qualifying simulations in the closing stages of the session, including Mitch Evans and Jean-Eric Vergne. Evans was caught between the two Nissan drivers as they battled for track position. They briefly ran three-abreast through the chicane before Evans dropped behind both, ruining a lap that had been purple in sector one and green in sector two.

Vergne had also been on for a quick lap when Alexander Sims left the pits ahead of him. Sims didn’t move aside and the pair briefly touched as Vergne tried to find a way past.

Vergne and Evans finished 11th and 15th respectively.

James Calado also ran into traffic while on a flying lap early in the session. The rookie had been more than a tenth quicker than the then fastest time – set by Robin Frijns – in sectors one and two before he came onto the back of a slow moving Daniel Abt.

Calado tried to pass Abt but, in going off line, clipped the wall and damaged the rear of his Jaguar. The incident is under investigation.

Abt, who was handed a fine for speeding in the pit lane in FP1, finished sixth quickest ahead of Jerome d’Ambrosio and Frijns.

Andre Lotterer and Pascal Wehrlein completed the top 10.

Bethonie Waring

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