Santiago ePrix: Vergne tops red flag-disrupted practice

Jean-Eric Vergne set the fastest time across two red-flagged practice sessions for Formula E’s Santiago ePrix.

Santiago ePrix: Vergne tops red flag-disrupted practice
Jean-Eric Vergne, Techeetah
Jose Maria Lopez, Dragon Racing, Jean-Eric Vergne, Techeetah
Mitch Evans, Jaguar Racing
Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing
Maro Engel, Venturi Formula E
Jean-Eric Vergne, Techeetah on a bicycle
Jean-Eric Vergne, Techeetah

The circuit was coated in dust at the start of the day and as track conditions and temperatures improved the second session proved comfortably quicker. 

Lucas di Grassi, Sam Bird, Mitch Evans and then Alex Lynn had spells atop the times after early full-power runs, with Lynn lapping 0.8s faster than Bird’s FP1 benchmark. 

That remained the fastest time until Vergne popped up late on with a 1m18.662s to outpace Lynn by 0.030s. 

Any chance of late improvements were scuppered when Nico Prost plunged into the barrier exiting Turn 9. 

The Renault e.dams driver ran wide into the 90-degree left-hander and nosed his Z.E.17 into the wall, bringing out the red flag and ending the session early. 

That confirmed Vergne as quickest, ahead of Lynn, Evans, Nick Heidfeld and championship leader Felix Rosenqvist. 

Reigning champion Lucas di Grassi, without a point to his name and heading into qualifying with a 10-place grid penalty, was only 10th-fastest in FP2.

Mahindra’s Rosenqvist was one of several drivers to visit the escape road at Turn 3 during a messy opening session, as the challenging Santiago track caught out many. 

Rosenqvist and Nelson Piquet Jr both headed down it twice, with Luca Filippi and Jerome d’Ambrosio also taking a trip in the wrong direction, but all of them kept it out of the barriers.

Sebastien Buemi did not, losing the rear of his Renault on the exit of a corner and slapping the wall, damaging the right-rear. 

A bigger incident for Maro Engel brought the opening session to a premature end in similar circumstances to Prost’s stoppage-inducing FP2 shunt. 

Engel ran deep into Turn 3 and nosed his Venturi quite heavily in the wall. 

FP2 results:

Pos.DriverTeamTimeGap
1 france Jean-Eric Vergne  china Techeetah 1'18.662  
2 united_kingdom Alex Lynn  united_kingdom Virgin Racing 1'18.692 0.030
3 new_zealand Mitch Evans  united_kingdom Jaguar Racing 1'18.872 0.210
4 germany Nick Heidfeld  india Mahindra Racing 1'18.887 0.225
5 sweden Felix Rosenqvist  india Mahindra Racing 1'18.962 0.300
6 united_kingdom Sam Bird  united_kingdom Virgin Racing 1'19.227 0.565
7 italy Edoardo Mortara  monaco Venturi 1'19.240 0.578
8 germany Daniel Abt  germany Team Abt 1'19.264 0.602
9 switzerland Sébastien Buemi  france DAMS 1'19.274 0.612
10 brazil Lucas di Grassi  germany Team Abt 1'19.320 0.658
11 united_kingdom Oliver Turvey  china NIO Formula E Team 1'19.364 0.702
12 argentina Jose Maria Lopez  united_states Dragon Racing 1'19.414 0.752
13 italy Luca Filippi  china NIO Formula E Team 1'19.671 1.009
14 belgium Jérôme d'Ambrosio  united_states Dragon Racing 1'19.714 1.052
15 portugal Antonio Felix da Costa  united_states Andretti Autosport 1'19.803 1.141
16 germany Andre Lotterer  china Techeetah 1'20.039 1.377
17 brazil Nelson Piquet Jr.  united_kingdom Jaguar Racing 1'20.051 1.389
18 germany Maro Engel  monaco Venturi 1'20.143 1.481
19 united_kingdom Tom Blomqvist  united_states Andretti Autosport 1'20.298 1.636
20 france Nicolas Prost  france DAMS 1'20.301 1.639
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