Sao Paulo E-Prix – Envision Racing’s Sebastien Buemi topped the FP1 times but it was close with the top six within two tenths.
As the first session of the weekend started it was the two McLarens who led the field out onto the Sao Paulo Street Circuit. The first time on the board was a 1:38.097 warm up lap from Rene Rast but ten minutes into the session, once everyone had put in a faster time, it was the other McLaren, of Jake Hughes, in P1 with a 1:13.959, three tenths ahead of the two Nissans.
There were a few lock ups during the session but Stoffel Vandoorne had the worst of it, the reigning champion going nose first into a barrier and having to pit to change to an undamaged version.
The new tracks this season have been giving the speedy new Gen3 cars a good run with the Brazilian track’s long straights expected to give record top speeds for the series while Cape Town last time out gave us record average speed on Sacha Fenestraz’ pole lap.
While Hughes held the top spot for ten or so minutes, the big laps started coming in in the last ten minutes and the timesheets were constantly undulating. Traffic became a bit of an issue towards the end but it was Buemi’s 1:12.341 that sealed him the top spot in the inaugural Formula E session in Brazil.
There Fenestraz took P2, 0.112 seconds behind the Swiss racer, while the rest of the top six all put in similar times to sit within two tenths of Buemi’s time. NIO 333’s Dan Ticktum was in P3 with a 1:12.464, Vandoorne a few thousandths further back while Mitch Evans took P5, 0.140 seconds off the leader.
Rast was P6 with a 1:12.533 ahead of his teammate Hughes who ended in P7. Maximilian Guenther was the best of the Maseratis in P8 while the top ten was rounded out by the two home drivers, Lucas di Grassi with a 1:12.740 and Sergio Sette Camara who was 0.441 seconds off the fastest time.