BMW took first blood in Free Practice One for the New York ePrix double-header, with Alexander Sims showing the rest of the field a clean set of heels to the tune of two-tenths of a second, while Nissan’s Oliver Rowland did the business in FP2.
Despite race organisers sweeping the track in the preceding week to the ePrix, large sections of dust were still apparent just off the racing line. Andre Lotterer was one driver to experiment with the grip (or lack thereof) grip levels off-line to gauge the possibility of overtaking manoeuvres during the race.
Techeetah teammate and championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne was caught out on the dust at turn 6, but managed to use the escape road without making contact. Up until that point the Frenchman had set the fastest first sector.
Alexander Sims missed out on potentially setting the quickest time early on in the session if not for the yellow flags to scupper his chances after Daniel Abt became the third driver to come unstuck at turn 6.
With the order at the top of the timesheets swapping numerous time throughout the session, drivers began setting quali simulations on full power with just six minutes remaining in the session. Antonio Felix Da Costa struck first with a 1.10:225 – one tenth ahead of Robin Frijns until Vergne and Lotterer sandwiched the Virgin driver.
Sims however would make up for his early disappointment by becoming the first driver to drop under the 70-second bracket – two-tenths ahead of Sebastien Buemi, Frijns and Vergne.
In Free Practice Two, whilst much of the dust had dissipated, the increased temperatures meant grip was still a scarce commodity.
On that point, Mitch Evans had a meeting with the wall, but looked to have escaped without any real damage sustained. Stoffel Vandoorne was another to scrape the wall at turn 9 without any marks, but it did highlight that the best of the tyre’s grip was effectively gone after a lap.
BMW looked set to do the double, with Antonio Felix Da Costa leading the way with ten seconds to go in the final practice session, until Oliver Rowland usurped Da Costa and Buemi finishing third.
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