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Bird quickest in Santiago FP1

Virgin’s Sam Bird topped times in the first free practice session ahead of the 2020 Santiago E-Prix.

Bird, who won the 2019 iteration of the Chile race, set a time of 1m04.914s in the closing stages of the morning session despite hitting traffic on his lap.

He spent most of the session at the sharp end of the field, but track evolution over the course of the 45-minute session meant lap times were constantly improving.

Jaguar’s Mitch Evans set the pace in the first half of the session, though struggled with front lock up on a number of laps. It was only in the final third of the session that Evans dropped down the order as others found improvements, eventually ending the session outside the top 10.

Antonio Felix Da Costa, the first driver to set a full power lap, finished second quickest, ahead of Edoardo Mortara and Lucas Di Grassi.

Traffic was an issue for a number of drivers, including reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne, who was held up by a slow Daniel Abt on his flying lap. Vergne could only manage 16th quickest, 0.7s off the pace.

Olivier Rowland ran into trouble when he found himself behind Maximilian Guenther. The Nissan driver tapped the back of Guenther’s car, damaging the front of his own car and forcing him to come into the pits.

Nico Mueller finished fifth quickest, ahead of Jerome D’Ambrosio and championship leader Alexander Sims.

Sebastien Buemi, Pascal Wehrlein and Andre Lotterer completed the top 10.

Bethonie Waring

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