Jaguar’s Nelson Piquet Jr. topped the standings by less than 0.1 seconds during the first practice session before Formula E’s inaugural Rome ePrix.
Season one champion Piquet edged out DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird for the fastest lap of the session, which was red flagged with less than five minutes to go after Bird’s team-mate Alex Lynn went into the wall and damaged his front wing.
Piquet himself was close to hitting the same spot earlier in the session, as some drivers had trouble with braking on the varying tarmac.
Behind the leading pair was Piquet’s team-mate Mitch Evans, although he was over 0.5s behind. He edged out current drivers’ championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne by two-thousandths of a second, with the Techeetah driver in fourth overall.
His team-mate Andre Lotterer finished the session in sixth, with the two being separated by Renault e.dams’ Sebastien Buemi in fifth.
Buemi was one of five drivers to set a lap time under 1m37s, while his team-mate Nico Prost was down in 14th.
Felix Rosenqvist was the highest placed Mahindra driver in seventh, with Nick Heidfeld only able to go 15th fastest. Rosenqvist was the last driver to be within a second of Piquet’s lap time during the session.
The top 10 was rounded off by Jerome D’Ambrosio for Dragon Racing, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s Lucas di Grassi and Lynn.
Neither drivers from NIO, Venturi and Andretti set a time quick enough to get into the top half of the standings, although NIO’s Oliver Turvey was the best out of those three teams in 12th.