FP1 may have been touched by the rain’s presence, but a much drier and grippier F2 still offered up drama and tricky conditions for the drivers. Mitch Evans topped the timetables, giving hope that Jaguar Racing really have turned the corner and become a regular race-winning outfit.
The session started without incident, with only a standard full course yellow deployment offering up anything of major note, but there was debris found at Turn 3 and as such it appeared the drivers were already coming to blows with Paris’ limits.
Oliver Rowland initially shot to the top of the timesheets, kicking into motion a flurry of quick times from other drivers, constantly shuffling the order. Within the space of a few minutes, Rowland found himself pushed down to 7th only to put in another time good enough for third.
Antonio Felix da Costa then lead the times with 20 minutes to go, but before long Lucas di Grassi knocked the Portuguese off of his perch. The Nissan e-dams package proved itself to potentially be the class of the field when, with half of the session gone, Sebastien Buemi and Rowland led a 1-2 at the top.
Audi Sport ABT Schaeffer also staked their claim as top dog, when Daniel Abt’s ferocious reply – two purple sectors on the way to a blistering time – was backed up by second place for di Grassi, in a tussle reminiscent of the two’s battles in previous seasons.
With 10 minutes to go, the contact started. Firstly, Alex Lynn damaged his front nose after contact with the wall, which for a driver who is still fighting to get up to speed could dent his confidence. Buemi also spun his car while trying to assert his pace, and was overtaken at the top of the standings once again by Abt.
In the end, it was Evans who popped up to lead the session, after Jean-Eric Vergne couldn’t string together a lap that initially looked promising. Jose Maria Lopez was another to crash, putting the Argentine under more pressure, but Jaguar Racing are having the pressure lifted from them with their performance.