Sam Bird ended a hectic first practice session fastest in Paris, as the 45-minute session was halted twice due to crashes from Nelson Piquet Jr and Felix Rosenqvist.
The top three were covered by less than a tenth of a second. As Bird’s time of 1:01:698 was only 0.018 of a second quicker than Lucas Di Grassi’s time of a 1:01:716. Di Grassi’s teammate Daniel Abt ended the session third fastest with a lap time of 1:01:790.
Piquet Jr’s day started off with a bang, as the Jaguar Racing driver was second when he hit the wall hard at the last corner and ripped off his right-front suspension. That brought out the first red flag and a ten-minute delay. The Brazilian ended the session in 12th place.
Rosenqvist was also in the wall at the exit of the fast right-hander at Turn 12. The Swede had just gone purple in sector two before he hit the kerb too hard and lost the back end and slid into the wall damaging the front wing. The Swede could only manage 14th fastest.
Mitch Evans ended the session fourth quickest, confirming that Jaguar will be in the hunt for a podium or win in Paris. Championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne finished behind the Kiwi in fifth place, three-tenths off Bird’s time.
Alex Lynn was five-tenths of his teammate in sixth place with Jose Maria Lopez behind in seventh. Antonio Felix Da Costa had a good session for Andretti in eighth with Jerome D’Ambrosio and Andre Lotterer rounding out the top ten.
Sebastien Buemi also found the wall at Turn 13, but the Swiss driver was able to recover to the pitlane with a broken front wing and ended the session 13th. His teammate Nicolas Prost finished the session in 17th, which add to Renault’s woes in their last season of Formula E before they become Nissan.
Returnee Ma Qing Hua in the NIO finished the session slowest, 2.1 seconds off the pace set by Sam Bird.