Long Beach ePrix: Buemi sets pace in opening practice

Points leader Sebastien Buemi led the way in the opening free practice session for the Long Beach Formula E round.

Long Beach ePrix: Buemi sets pace in opening practice

Renault e.dams driver Buemi lapped the shortened version of the classic American street racing venue in 57.383s, over four tenths clear of DS Virgin’s Sam Bird.

Team Aguri's Antonio Felix da Costa set the early pace before Bird took over at the top of the times.

Buemi hit the top after five minutes, the first man to dip under the minute barrier on 59.967s.

Virgin's Jean-Eric Vergne spent a few moments as the fastest man before Buemi lowered the mark again to 59.3s, but Vergne fought back on 59.2s.

Abt's Lucas di Grassi was the first man into the 58s, on a 58.892s. Buemi topped that by 0.023s on 58.869s, before di Grassi responded with 58.780s. Buemi went P1 again on 58.519s, whereas di Grassi straightlined the ultra-tight Turn 1 chicane a and slightly glanced a barrier.

All cars were running in the 170kW range, but some turned it up to the 200kW qualifying output in the closing moments, Salvador Duran leaping to P1 on 58.119s.

Buemi then rattled off his 57.383s that would remain as the best time, as Bird went P2 on 57.815s, ahead of Andretti duo Robin Frijns and Simona de Silvestro – who both topped Duran’s time with 200kW laps.

Stephane Sarrazin was sixth quickest, ahead of da Costa, di Grassi, Nico Prost and Daniel Abt.

There were plenty of incidents on a dirty track. Renault’s Prost locked up and straightlined the chicane, a move later repeated by Mahindra’s Bruno Senna. Prost then took a trip down the escape road at the very same spot.

Venturi’s Mike Conway had a huge early moment under braking at Turn 5, but kept his car out of the wall.

FP1 Results:

 Pos.  Driver  Team  Time  Gap  Laps 
 Sebastien Buemi  Renault e.Dams 57.383   27
 Sam Bird  DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team 57.815 0.432 23
 Simona de Silvestro  Andretti Formula E Team 58.033 0.65 23
 Robin Frijns  Andretti Formula E Team 58.039 0.656 22
 Salvador Duran  Team Aguri 58.119 0.736 29
 Stephane Sarrazin  Venturi Formula E Team 58.373 0.99 33
 Antonio Felix da Costa  Team Aguri 58.775 1.392 31
 Lucas di Grassi  ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport 58.78 1.397 32
 Nicolas Prost  Renault e.Dams 58.783 1.4 26
10   Daniel Abt  ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport 58.79 1.407 27
11   Jean Eric Vergne  DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team 58.852 1.469 24
12   Loic Duval  Dragon Racing Formula E Team 59.039 1.656 28
13   Jerome d'Ambrosio  Dragon Racing Formula E Team 59.048 1.665 29
14   Oliver Turvey  NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team 59.12 1.737 37
15   Mike Conway  Venturi Formula E Team 59.276 1.893 25
16   Nelson Piquet Jr.  NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team 59.441 2.058 28
17   Nick Heidfeld  Mahindra Racing Formula E Team 59.505 2.122 20
18   Bruno Senna  Mahindra Racing Formula E Team 59.556 2.173 27
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