As season 3 kicks off today in Hong Kong, an action packed first free practice session gave us a possible hint of how the race might be like. With early yellow flags, and multiple leaders throughout the session, there really was no better way to start the season.
Reigning champion Sébastien Buemi (Renault e.dams) led for the first 3 minutes, until Oliver Turvey’s NextEV car stopped on track and caused yellow flags. Red flags were displayed one minute later, to remove the car from the track. Green flags were displayed again with 37 minutes to go, with the Renault e.dams drivers Buemi and Nicolas Prost topping the standings.
Turvey, who hopped on his second car, would then feel further disappointment as this car also stopped on track, causing yellow flags again with 33 minutes left. Lucas di Grassi (ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport) would then show dominance with 30 minutes still to go, with his name topping the standings, while the second and third placed drivers were constantly changing. Sweden’s Felix Rosenqvist (Mahindra) took the lead 8 minutes later, continuing in first place until 12 minutes were remaining, when Jean-Eric Vergne put his Techeetah machine into P1.
During that period of time, Frijns’ MS Amlin Andretti car had a spin that blocked the way for other cars to pass. This caused, once again during the session, red flags. Action started again, with 14 minutes to go, with di Grassi re-taking the top spot from Vergne after a lap of 1:02.381. The Brazilian finished the session in P1 followed by Buemi, Daniel Abt, Maro Engel, Vergne, Sam Bird, Stephane Sarrazin, Prost, Antonio Felix da Costa, and Rosenqvist, who completed the Top 10.
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Main image courtesy of Rajan Jangda. Other images courtesy of FIA Formula E Media