Practice began in sweltering conditions at Santiago, and with temperatures set to rise, teams were in a hurry to gather as much data as possible in terms of tyre management and energy recovery.
Sam Bird, Andrew Lotterer and Pascal Wehrlein headed the order in the early minutes of the session, with reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne taking a turn at the top of the timesheets. Wehrlein in the particular was a man on a mission in an effort to make up lost time from missing the opening round.
Low light made visibility difficult with drivers driving directly into the sunlight. Turn thirteen was the scene for quite a bit of experimentation of different lines to optimise exit speed across the timing beam as well as trialling defensive tactics.
Sebastien Buemi was first to fall victim to the tight confines of Santiago, making a rare mistake in launching off the kerbs and into the barriers. The Nissan e.Dams mechanics would face a right-front repair job at the very least – and possibly a new floor.
Before Buemi’s incident, Lucas di Grassi had shot to the top , albeit with the benefit of attack mode while Stoffel Vandoorne was next to come unstuck, although unlike Buemi, had the good fortune of doing so at the turn twelve escape road. That corner could prove a decisive overtaking point in the race; with the road dropping away it will undoubtedly favour the driver most committed to their braking input.
Envision Virgin would however put in a late dash to put both their drivers at the top of the totem, with Robin Frijns throwing everything to edge Eduardo Mortara, followed by team-mate Sam Bird. Bird would however get one back to retake top spot
It was short lived though, as Di Grassi threw up an incredible third sector to finish on top ahead of Wehrlein.
Image: ABB Formula E
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