Buemi leads di Grassi in Beijing practice

by Paul Hensby

Sebastien Buemi set the pace in practice ahead of the season opening ePrix in Beijing, although the Renault e.Dams squad did not have it all there own way as they did on Friday.

Whereas the gap to the rest of the field was over two seconds during Friday’s half hour test session, Buemi’s time of 1m36.991s was just 0.288s faster than Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport driver Lucas di Grassi, who was victorious in Beijing twelve months ago in the very first FIA Formula E race.

Buemi set his time in the opening of the two practice sessions on Saturday morning, while di Grassi set the pace in the second session as many drivers took different approaches to potential qualifying simulations.

Nicolas Prost confirmed e.Dams’ pace with the third quickest time overall, just under half a second slower than his team-mate, while Loic Duval finished fourth for Dragon Racing and was the last driver to get within one second of the pace of Buemi.

Daniel Abt was fifth in the second Abt ahead of the second Dragon entry of Jerome d’Ambrosio, while the leading Venturi Racing entry of Stephane Sarrazin was seventh.

Sam Bird was the only DS Virgin Racing entry to finish inside the top ten in eighth, with Team Aguri duo Antonio Felix da Costa and Nathanael Berthon completing the top ten.

Reigning champion Nelson Piquet had another disappointing morning, with the Brazilian crashing his NEXTEV TCR entry in the pit lane during the first session, and finished only sixteenth fastest overall, ahead of only Simona de Silvestro of Andretti Autosport and Jacques Villeneuve of Venturi.

De Silvestro brought out the red flags in the second session when she crashed her car with just eight minutes of the session remaining, denying a number of drivers an opportunity to run a qualifying simulation.

Beijing ePrix Free Practice Results (Combined)

19Sebastien BuemiSWIRenault e.Dams1m36.991s1m40.669s
211Lucas di GrassiBRZABT Schaeffler Audi Sport1m42.199s1m37.279s
38Nicolas ProstFRARenault e.Dams1m37.484s1m39.827s
46Loic DuvalFRADragon Racing1m37.890s1m42.408s
566Daniel AbtGERABT Schaeffler Audi Sport1m40.946s1m37.993s
67Jerome d'AmbrosioBELDragon Racing1m38.110s1m41.965s
74Stephane SarrazinFRAVenturi1m40.684s1m38.336s
82Sam BirdGBRDS Virgin Racing1m38.594s1m41.474s
955Antonio Felix da CostaPORTeam Aguri1m41.061s1m39.768s
1077Nathanael BerthonFRATeam Aguri1m43.695s1m40.283s
1123Nick HeidfeldGERMahindra1m40.636s1m40.349s
1225Jean-Eric VergneFRADS Virgin Racing1m42.000s1m40.376s
1327Robin FrijnsNEDAndretti Autosport1m41.453s1m40.978s
1488Oliver TurveyGBRNEXTEV TCR1m40.992s1m41.055s
1521Bruno SennaBRZMahindra1m41.212s1m41.457s
161Nelson Piquet JrBRZNEXTEV TCR1m56.662s1m41.333s
1728Simona de SilvestroSWIAndretti Autosport1m41.551s1m43.150s
1812Jacques VilleneuveCANVenturi1m42.590sNo Time

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