Formula E

After Formula E top speed record: Sebastien Buemi wins 1st free practice in Sao Paulo

Timo Pape

Timo Pape

Sebastien Buemi has won the 1st Free Practice of Formula E in Sao Paulo. The Swiss driver in the Envision prevailed over Sacha Fenestraz (Nissan) and Dan Ticktum (Nio 333). In a largely uneventful first session in Brazil, the fastest top speeds in Formula E history to date were recorded. Buemi achieved the best value with 266.5 km/h.

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The 1st Free Practice in Brazil began punctually at 20:30 German time in bright sunshine and with the usual full-course yellow exercise. After a good five minutes, Pascal Wehrlein jumped into first position in his Porsche. The lap times at the start of the race weekend were around 1:14 minutes.

The first minor upset was caused by Stoffel Vandoorne: The reigning champion misjudged his position when turning into turn 1 and slid head-on into the TecPro barrier in the chicane. The impact was gentle, however, so that his DS Penske took only minimal damage.

Local hero Sergio Sette Camara also braked at the end of the long start-finish straight. However, unlike Vandoorne, the Nio 333 driver drove around the outside of the TecPro barrier to return to the track. Wehrlein did the same. Leading the field after the first third of the 30-minute session was Jake Hughes in the McLaren, who showed good early form.

Formula E faster than ever

At the halfway point, the fastest top speeds in Formula E history to that point were measured: At 257 km/h, Jean-Eric Vergne initially led this ranking. Later, Buemi improved this value to 266.5 km/h. Then nothing worth mentioning happened for a few minutes. Behind Hughes followed Mitch Evans in the Jaguar ahead of Norman Nato, Antonio Felix da Costa and Sacha Fenestraz - three Nissan cars in the top 5! Finally, with just over ten minutes to go, lap time improvements appeared on the monitor again.

Hughes tumbled to the bottom of the top 10 within minutes as numerous drivers improved. Vandoorne temporarily led the field ahead of Jake Dennis and Rene Rast. But then Hughes countered and took the lead again. However, he was not to stay there for long, because Sebastien Buemi set a new record with two "pink" sector times. Mahindra drivers Oliver Rowland and Lucas di Grassi also tried full power, but both braked heavily before turn 1 and had to cut short.

In the final minutes, it became very crowded on the track once again. Improvements there were - probably also therefore - but hardly. Apart from Sacha Fenestraz, who moved up to 2nd place and underlined the potential of the Nissan. However, the session went to Sebastien Buemi with a lap time of 1:12.341 minutes. Ticktum, Vandoorne and Evans completed the top 5. Formula E's 2nd Free Practice session at the Sao Paulo E-Prix takes place on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. (CET) - to be followed in the livestream and liveticker on e-Formel.de.

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