Bird tops shortened Miami ePrix practice

by Tom Errington

Reading into practice sessions is often a dangerous game, with misinformation rife. In the case of the Miami ePrix, one assertion was clear. A one day format is a risk.

A storm the night before meant the organisers had to hastily finish the track the day of the event, with the eventual two practice sessions merged into one thirty minute practice.

On the face of it, the situation doesn’t seem critical but with one day to cram the event it had ramifications. With sessions so close, one error could end a day with little time to recover or repair.

In the case of new drivers, Trulli GP’s Vitantonio Luizzi, Dragon Racing’s Loic Duval and Andretti Formula E Team’s Scott Speed had limited time to learn the nuances of the Renault-Spark.

It’s testament to the trio that they all ran well within the top ten at various stages of the session eventually topped by Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird.

The Brit’s time of 1min 06.588secs saw off the times of Mahindra Racing’s Karun Chandhok and Lucas di Grassi, the pair registering a 1min 06.689secs and 1min 06.909 respectively.

Scott Speed was the best of the debutants in fourth thanks to a lap of 1min 07.265secs, but the American will be wary of the investigation from the stewards for himself and Trulli GP’s Jarno Trulli.

Audi Sport ABT’s Daniel Abt took fifth narrowly ahead of Nick Heidfeld, besting his fellow countryman’s time of 1min.446 by under 0.3secs.

e.dams-Renault’s Nico Prost finished eighth with a time of 1min 07.570secs ahead of the impressive first outing of Vitantonio Liuizzi.

The Trulli novice’s time of 1min 07.781secs saw off the 1min 07.892secs lap of Venturi’s Stephane Sarrazin and the 1min 07.980secs of Andretti’s Jean-Eric Vergne.

Few will take anything from their laps on the timesheets, but Formula E can take heed from their experiences in Miami.

The practice debacle means teams will be almost instantaneously back on track, with qualifying set for 4pm local time.

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