Nelson Piquet ended the first practice session for Formula E in Rome in P1, just eight-hundredths of a second ahead of DS Virgin’s Sam Bird.
The session was brought to an end with just 4 minutes remaining, when Bird’s teammate Alex Lynn collected the barriers and brought out the red flag. Jose Maria Lopez also sustained damage to his Dragon after also making contact with the barriers.
Top runner Piquet said he wasn’t reading too much into the initial times, despite being happy with the performance of his Jaguar.
“We don’t do 200kw in first practice, so sometime people do quali runs which could explain the difference”, said Piquet.
“We haven’t just much since we got here, so we’re happy. There are some nice elevation changes and it’s the biggest track we’ve raced on so far” he added.
Mitch Evans had led for much of the session in the second Jaguar car, before Piquet moved ahead of him with a lap of 1m 36.134 with a few minutes remaining. Piquet had earlier made brief contact with the wall at turn 14, but was able to continue without damage to the car.
Sam Bird was less than a tenth behind Piquet in second, with Evans having to settle for third a half second further back.
Championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne was fourth just 0.002s behind Evans and was another to have difficulties at turn 14, locking up but unlike Piquet he managed to avoid contact with the barrier.
Buemi was fifth for Renault e.Dams, with Andre Lotterer, Felix Rosenqvist, Jerome D’Ambrosio, and Lucas Di Grassi rounding out the top ten and separated by just 0.157s.
The two Italians in the field, Edoardo Mortara and Luca Filippi could do no better than 17th and 18th, ahead of the two BMW Andretti cars of Antonio Felix Da Costa and Tom Blomqvist who struggled for pace all session.
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