Formula E in India: Sam Bird wins 2nd free practice session, Porsche on the grid again
Sam Bird was the fastest in the 2nd free practice of Formula E in India. The Jaguar driver lapped the circuit in 1:13.631 minutes, beating his former teammate Jean-Eric Vergne in the DS Penske. Drivers from eight different teams found themselves in the top eight positions at the end of the second session at the Hyderabad E-Prix.
In contrast to the 1st Free Practice on Friday, the first session of Saturday started on time at 3:40 am (CET). The most important news at the start: Pascal Wehrlein was able to participate after his serious accident. Porsche and Andretti also sent the other three cars out on track - apparently they had solved the problem of the previous day. In the first few minutes, drivers tested their way to the limits on the dusty course. After the first third, Mitch Evans set the first 1:14 lap time and took the lead. Behind him, Jake Hughes and Wehrlein sorted themselves out.
After thorough examinations at the local hospital, @PWehrlein has been deemed fit to race and is ready to defend his championship-leading position.- TAG Heuer Porsche FE Team (@PorscheFormulaE) February 11, 2023
We'd like to thank the medical staff at the track and Apollo Hospital in Hyderabad for excellent care.
FP2 is starting now. pic.twitter.com/5tdNf3uTKN
Happy for the Indian fans towards the halfway point, Mahindra driver Lucas di Grassi thought he was in the lead for a while, but was then replaced by Rene Rast in the McLaren. However, the Brazilian countered, regained first place - supposedly in attack mode - and was at least four tenths of a second faster than everyone else. In 3rd place at the time was Sergio Sette Camara in the Nio 333, with Nick Cassidy, Edo Mortara and Jake Dennis also in the leading group.
Lucas di Grassi leaves Indian fans dreaming
After that, the top 5 changed once through - except for di Grassi at the front. Sacha Fenestraz, Dan Ticktum, Max Guenther and Sam Bird bustled around at the front. Then Jean-Eric Vergne set the new fastest time. The track was getting grippier by the minute and at this point was already a second faster than in the 1st free practice. Six minutes before the end, Cassidy set the first 1:13 time. Rast lined up behind the "Kiwi" in the Envision.
Bird was the next driver to take over the top position, underlining the good pace of the Jaguar cars on the new "Hyderabad Street Circuit." But the DS and Maserati cars were also up front, with Vergne second at this point and Mortara fourth. In the final minutes, all the cars were on the track once again, trying to improve. Bird started with a monstrously fast first sector - because he had shortened it. His lap therefore didn't count.
He won the session anyway, because no one could undercut the Brit anymore. Rounding out the top 5 after a largely uneventful session were Vergne, Cassidy, Mortara and Fenestraz. Qualifying at Hyderabad starts at 6:10 a.m. German time. Those who are still or already awake again can follow the session in the livestream at ran.de as well as in our Hankook Formula E Liveticker.