Mitch Evans got his weekend off to the perfect start as he topped a fierce FP1 session characterised by multiple changes of leader amidst a frenzy of full power laps. and struggles with tyres on the abrasive surface of the Tempelhof apron.
Practice got underway in warm conditions with air temperature at 23c, with the field heading straight out onto the 2.375km circuit aiming to get their respective weekends off to the best start.
With the mandatory full course yellow simulation complete, the early times were headed by HWA Racelab’s Stoffel Vandoorne with championship contenders Andre Lotterer and Jerome d’Ambrosio in close company.
Lotterer soon took over from Vandoorne at the top of the timing sheet while Antonio Felix da Costa, hoping to bring BMW i Andretti a positive result on home soil, moved himself up into third place ahead teammate Alexander Sims.
The first driver to attempt a full power lap was local hero Pascal Wehrlein, who sent his Mahindra Racing to the top of the times by half a second but immediately conveyed over the team radio that his tyres were struggling on the abrasive surface of the Tempelhof Airport apron.
Multiple drivers reported issues with tyre management and braking, with the track looking unforgiving in its tendency to throw the cars into powerslides.
Wehrlein’s stay at the top of the times was short-lived, as Vandoorne became the next driver to pump in a 250kW lap and laid down a 1:09.338s to go a quarter of a second faster.
The full power laps soon came thick and fast, with Lucas di Grassi and Robin Frijns moving themselves into the top three. Daniel Abt made sure the Audi-powered cars continued to put in a good showing as he then leapt to the top of the times with a 1:08.952s.
Rome race winner Evans showed a good turn of pace in his Panasonic Jaguar Racing as he went second fastest before da Costa went a tenth quicker than Abt to go P1.
With less than ten minutes to go, more drivers started to turn in fast laps as Nissan e.dams’ Oliver Rowland shot up to third, while championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne and teammate Lotterer went P7 and P3 respectively.
Still in search of his first victory since Berlin season three, Sebastien Buemi put his Nissan e.dams into the top five just before d’Ambrosio went fastest.
However, in no time at all da Costa retook P1 as he lapped 0.004s faster than his Belgian title rival, setting a 1:08.403s. The GEOX Dragon of Lopez followed to go P3, before being beaten by Sims who put both BMWs in the top three.
The final couple of minutes saw a flurry of activity as far as full power laps were concerned, with the Venturi of Edoardo Mortara stealing P1 away from da Costa, while Tom Dillmann put his NIO into P5.
Strong laps from the Panasonic Jaguar Racing duo of Evans and Alex Lynn provisionally put them both into the top three, but as the chequered flag fell and the remaining drivers finished their laps the latter fell to P5.
Evans kept his position at the top of the times and ended the first practice session fastest of all on a 1:08.162s, while Mortara and Vandoorne completing the FP1 podium.
Buemi took fourth at the end ahead of Lynn, with da Costa dropping to sixth having spent much of the session in P1.
d’Ambrosio finished seventh, while Frijns, Abt and Sims rounded out the top ten.