Sanya E-Prix: Buemi sets practice pace for Nissan

Nissan e.dams driver Sebastien Buemi set the fastest time across the two practice sessions for ABB FIA Formula E’s inaugural race at Sanya, despite hitting the barriers head-on during FP2.

Sanya E-Prix: Buemi sets practice pace for Nissan

Buemi set a best time of 1m07.288s to depose long-time FP2 leader Antonio Felix da Costa and go fastest by 0.109s.

That session-topping time from Buemi came just 10 minutes after he had crashed into the barriers at the exit of Turn 3 – the left-hander where the track’s attack mode activation zone is located.

He appeared to have an issue mid-corner and went nose-first into the barriers as result, but was able to reverse away and head back to the pits for repairs.

Buemi rejoined the action late-on and set the quickest time with just over two minutes of the second session remaining.

Oliver Rowland, who had topped the opening 45-minute FP1 session, set the third fastest time in the other Nissan.

Behind Rowland came Mahindra's Jerome d’Ambrosio and DS Techeetah driver Jean-Eric Vergne, who finished just 0.177s adrift of Buemi’s best effort in fifth despite visibly struggling with the handling of his car during FP1 – where he ended up seventh.

During FP2, the cameras captured Vergne gesticulating furiously towards Jaguar’s Nelson Piquet Jr as they ran through the penultimate corner during the early running.

Hong Kong winner Edoardo Mortara finished sixth fastest for Venturi, ahead of Audi’s Lucas di Grassi and the Dragon Racing pair Felipe Nasr and Jose Maria Lopez.

Lopez was one of several drivers to have a major lock-up at the Turn 8 hairpin, which is likely to be a major overtaking spot in the race

Current drivers’ championship leader Sam Bird ended up just outside the top 10 in FP2, 0.427s slower than Buemi.

Stoffel Vandoorne (HWA) led Felipe Massa (Venturi) and Andre Lotterer (DS Techeetah) in positions 12-14, ahead of Daniel Abt (Audi) and Robin Frijns, who scraped his Envision Virgin Racing car along the Sanya circuit’s walls on a number of occasions during FP1.

But Frijns did not cause any major damage to his car.

Piquet had to climb out of his car early on in FP2, the reason for which was an FIA-requested halo light battery change, which was confirmed by Piquet’s Jaguar team.

Alexander Sims ended up 20th during FP2 in the second BMW Andretti-run car, ahead HWA’s Gary Paffett and Mahindra Racing driver Pascal Wehrlein.

Both Paffett and Wehrlein hit the wall going through Turn 6, which is an acceleration zone right-hand blast that leads onto the long run – officially Turn 7 – heading down to the hairpin.

Wehrlein struck the wall first and appeared to hit it harder with his left-rear wheel, while Paffett seemed to strike it more square-on.  

Both drivers were able to recover to the pits.

FP1 Results:

Cla # Driver Team Time Gap
1 22 United Kingdom Oliver Rowland  France DAMS 1'07.561  
2 28 Portugal Antonio Felix da Costa  United States Andretti Autosport 1'07.625 0.064
3 27 United Kingdom Alexander Sims  United States Andretti Autosport 1'07.751 0.190
4 11 Brazil Lucas di Grassi  Germany Team Abt 1'07.752 0.191
5 23 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi  France DAMS 1'07.858 0.297
6 4 Netherlands Robin Frijns  United Kingdom Virgin Racing 1'07.971 0.410
7 25 France Jean-Eric Vergne  China Techeetah 1'08.019 0.458
8 64 Belgium Jérôme d'Ambrosio  India Mahindra Racing 1'08.159 0.598
9 20 New Zealand Mitch Evans  United Kingdom Jaguar Racing 1'08.221 0.660
10 66 Germany Daniel Abt  Germany Team Abt 1'08.299 0.738
11 5 Belgium Stoffel Vandoorne  Germany HWA AG 1'08.302 0.741
12 48 Switzerland Edoardo Mortara  Monaco Venturi 1'08.329 0.768
13 94 Germany Pascal Wehrlein  India Mahindra Racing 1'08.523 0.962
14 17 United Kingdom Gary Paffett  Germany HWA AG 1'08.548 0.987
15 2 United Kingdom Sam Bird  United Kingdom Virgin Racing 1'08.550 0.989
16 6 Brazil Felipe Nasr  United States Dragon Racing 1'08.676 1.115
17 16 United Kingdom Oliver Turvey  China NIO Formula E Team 1'08.821 1.260
18 3 Brazil Nelson Piquet Jr.  United Kingdom Jaguar Racing 1'08.822 1.261
19 19 Brazil Felipe Massa  Monaco Venturi 1'09.128 1.567
20 7 Argentina Jose Maria Lopez  United States Dragon Racing 1'09.270 1.709
21 8 France Tom Dillmann  China NIO Formula E Team 1'09.285 1.724
22 36 Germany Andre Lotterer  China Techeetah 1'09.654 2.093

FP2 results:

Cla # Driver Team Time Gap
1 23 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi  France DAMS 1'07.288  
2 28 Portugal Antonio Felix da Costa  United States Andretti Autosport 1'07.397 0.109
3 22 United Kingdom Oliver Rowland  France DAMS 1'07.453 0.165
4 64 Belgium Jérôme d'Ambrosio  India Mahindra Racing 1'07.456 0.168
5 25 France Jean-Eric Vergne  China Techeetah 1'07.465 0.177
6 48 Switzerland Edoardo Mortara  Monaco Venturi 1'07.528 0.240
7 20 New Zealand Mitch Evans  United Kingdom Jaguar Racing 1'07.578 0.290
8 11 Brazil Lucas di Grassi  Germany Team Abt 1'07.578 0.290
9 6 Brazil Felipe Nasr  United States Dragon Racing 1'07.647 0.359
10 7 Argentina Jose Maria Lopez  United States Dragon Racing 1'07.657 0.369
11 2 United Kingdom Sam Bird  United Kingdom Virgin Racing 1'07.715 0.427
12 5 Belgium Stoffel Vandoorne  Germany HWA AG 1'07.808 0.520
13 19 Brazil Felipe Massa  Monaco Venturi 1'07.917 0.629
14 36 Germany Andre Lotterer  China Techeetah 1'07.952 0.664
15 66 Germany Daniel Abt  Germany Team Abt 1'08.049 0.761
16 4 Netherlands Robin Frijns  United Kingdom Virgin Racing 1'08.277 0.989
17 8 France Tom Dillmann  China NIO Formula E Team 1'08.416 1.128
18 16 United Kingdom Oliver Turvey  China NIO Formula E Team 1'08.433 1.145
19 3 Brazil Nelson Piquet Jr.  United Kingdom Jaguar Racing 1'08.661 1.373
20 27 United Kingdom Alexander Sims  United States Andretti Autosport 1'08.732 1.444
21 17 United Kingdom Gary Paffett  Germany HWA AG 1'09.240 1.952
22 94 Germany Pascal Wehrlein  India Mahindra Racing 1'09.905 2.617
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