topped the time sheets in free practice one at Punta De Este after a brief challenge from and Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne.

 

The circuit was still relatively cold and sandy for the first free practice session, with the track yet to yield the grip available in qualifying. Daniel Abt was the first to make a move on the Paris end of the timesheets whilst title rival Felix Rosenqvist attacking the kerbs with more abandon than possibly recommended. The Mahindra team appeared to be struggling with tyre pressures but were confident of heading in the right direction.

 

Sebastien Buemi also showed his hand early by recording a 1:16.008; displaying the progress these cars have made since season one (close to 1.5 seconds) despite only running on 170kw.

 

Pit-stop practice was again high on the agenda post the FIA clarifying its position that drivers must be properly restrained in their seat by safety belts at all times when the car is moving; noting that it is prohibited to unbuckle their safety belts or remove the steering wheel when the car is moving.

 

First timers at the circuit – Jaguar racing – looked completely at home and appeared to be riding the kerbs incredibly well. This grip available to Nelson Piquet and Mitch Evans were giving drivers supreme confidence through the blind chicanes and if that doesn’t pose an advantage in qualifying, it certainly will in the race.

 

Oliver Turvey took a turn at the top of the timesheets, with the British driver keen to capitalize on his strong podium result in Mexico. Rosenqvist however was still looking a little rough – nearly backing his Mahindra into the wall.

 

Reigning champion Lucas di Grassi was now at the pointy-end with a tenth advantage over Turvey. Di Grassi has been threatening to make an impact on this year’s championship but has inevitably been forced into a supporting role for team mate Daniel Abt.

 

Di Grassi would improve with a 1:25.4 while Maro Engel was complaining of damper trouble with his Venturi, the German spearing off under brakes. Sebastien Buemi also made a rare error; damaging his rear wing after clipping the wall.

 

 

 

Image: Michelin