Weather conditions immaculate, it was championship leader Lucas di Grassi who topped a fairly incident free first practice session.
In comparison to yesterday’s practice sessions, the opening phases of this practice session were quiet, with teams going out more spread out as the Renault’s headed out onto track first.
A Third of the way into the session, DS Virgin’s Sam Bird found himself at the summit, followed NextEV’s Nelson Piquet Jr second, Mahindra Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist third, Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport’s Daniel Abt in fourth and NextEV’s Oliver Turvey in fifth. Championship contenders Lucas di Grassi and Sebastien Buemi were down 13th and 14th respectively at this stage.
Initial runs out of the way, Jaguar’s Mitch Evans was the first driver to put in a 200kw lap, however, he was only able to go fourth after hitting the traffic of a slow moving Daniel Abt in the final sector. Elsewhere – though still on 170kw laps – Buemi put his rebuilt Renault in P1 with a 1m23.019, Jean-Eric Vergne moved up to P2, Prost was third, whilst di Grassi sat P4, with his team-mate Abt in fifth; demoting Evans’ interrupted 200kw lap down to sixth.
Just over ten minutes remaining, it was time for qualifying sims for Renault e.dams as Nico Prost knocked his team-mate down to P2, Sam Bird went second in his DS Virgin, while a flying Daniel Abt had a moment at the bus stop chicane that brought out a brief yellow flag that interrupted Buemi’s flyer, meaning the Swiss driver ended the lap in P2 with plenty left in the bag.
Five minutes of the session to go and Lucas di Grassi opted to end his practice session early after the completion of his 200kw lap that put him in P1.
Out of all the drivers, less than half the grid opted to put in 200kw laps in this session as di Grassi ended the session on top with a 1m21.442, Prost four-tenths adrift in second, Buemi third, da Costa fourth and Rosenqvist in filth.
The DS Virgin’s Jose Maria Lopez and Sam occupied sixth and seventh, the traffic heavy 200kw lap of Mitch Evans was eighth, Faraday’s Jerome D’Ambrosio ninth and Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne rounded out the top ten in tenth.