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Buemi tops FP1 in season opener

Renault e.dams’ star Sébastien Buemi topped FP1 in the Hong Kong season opener, followed by Mitch Evans and Daniel Abt.

The 45 minute-long session saw many drivers leading the standings. Antonio Felix da Costa and Felix Rosenqvist were the first two racers to position themselves in P1, in what was a clean session start. A good performance was shown by several teams, especially by Jaguar Racing, as Piquet Jr. and Evans moved up to the Top 5 and were able to lead.

The Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler drivers di Grassi and Abt showcased a brilliant pace that allowed them to lead for several minutes. The Brazilian set a time of 1:04.319 that allowed him to top the standings for some laps.

The first incident came at Turn 1, where Nico Prost’s Reanult e.dams stopped on track, causing the display of yellow flag in that part of the track. Not very long after that, Dragon Racing’s Neel Jani damaged his front right suspension, causing the Swiss to go back to the garage and hop on the second car, leaving the damaged machine to be repaired.

A third yellow flag was displayed, as Rosenqvist stopped on track, and had to retire from the session. Nonetheless, the Swede was able to finish the session in P12, followed by his teammate Nick Heidfeld who had a trouble-free FP1.

In the last stages of the session, Sébastien Buemi climbed up to P1, finishing the practice in thta position. The S2 champion set a best time of 1:03.310; whereas his teammate Nico Prost finished sixth on the standings.

Rookie André Lotterer did not have the easiest session, as he slammed the car into the barrier and finished in P17. Race winner Jean-Éric Vergne obtained a ninth-place result. Fellow Chinese team NIO saw Oliver Turvey occupy P3 for most of the session, and despite dropping to P10, the Brit put on a great performance. Luca Filippi struggled on his first Formula E session, finishing P18.

American teams did not have the best of the results, but did show good pace on track. Such is the case of Kamui Kobayashi, whose experience with the Formula E car was rather limited, but was able to climb up to the Top 10 at some points. The Japanese finished P19, while his teammate da Costa came in P14. Dragon Racing’s Jérome d’Ambrosio finished P16, while Jani ended in P20, after having to swap cars.

Quite the opposite happened for the British outfits. Jaguar Racing debuted with both drivers topping the standings throughout the session, with Evans coming in P2 and Piquet P7, at the end of the session. DS Virgin Racing drivers Alex Lynn and Sam Bird also topped the standings, and despite the latter’s car went out of the track once, Bird was able to end in P5 and Lynn in P11.

Audi drivers di Grassi and Abt finished P4 and P3, respectively; as both drivers were able to climb up to P1 in certain moments of the practice session and the Brazilian setting an impressive lap time. Edoardo Mortara’s Venturi stayed in the Top 10 in the early stages of FP1, finishing in an impressive P8; whilst his teammate Maro Engel did struggle during the session, and finished P15.

FP2 will last 30 minutes and drivers will be aiming to improve their performances, ahead of qualifying.

4LucasDi Grassi260.659
14Antonio Felixda Costa301.376

Andrea Perilli

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