Formula E

Formula E in London: Nissan's Norman Nato tops Free Practice 1 on Friday

Timo Pape

Timo Pape

Norman Nato has decided the first Free Practice of Formula E in London in his favor. Throughout the session, the Nissan driver took turns with Sebastien Buemi (Envision) at the top of the timing screens until the end and finally prevailed. Sacha Fenestraz in the second Nissan finished behind the pair. Max Günther and Mitch Evans completed the top 5 in an uneventful opening session to the season finale.

The first practice session of the weekend started as usual this season already on Friday. In the first few minutes, the obligatory full-course yellow exercise took place, before gradually the first lap times appeared on the timing screens. Max Günther and Jake Hughes outbraked themselves early and had to turn around in the run-off zone of turn 10. The Jaguar cars had the best pace in the opening phase: Mitch Evans led after eight minutes ahead of Nick Cassidy and Sebastien Buemi (both Envision). After the first third of the 30-minute session, the Swiss even took the lead.

The Nissan drivers also made a good impression once again. Norman Nato moved up to third place, and birthday boy Sacha Fenestraz was sixth at this point. Nato kept up the pressure towards the halfway point of the session - especially and literally on Roberto Merhi, who was ahead of him. In the last combination of corners, he even nudged the Mahindra driver at the rear because he was appartenly going too slowly for him.

While world championship runner-up Cassidy took the lead, front-runner and title favorite Jake Dennis initially did not fare well. He was only 16th at the time, and even a tire change did not advance him significantly. "I've got understeer like crazy," he complained on the radio. Then he at least managed to jump into the top 10. Max Günther once again reminded his team of his good form of the past months and climbed to second place.

Hearty Nato effort brings best time

Ten minutes from the end, Evans took the lead and Pascal Wehrlein also reminded Formula E fans that he, too, still has a theoretical chance of winning the title. The Porsche driver slotted himself into second place between Evans and Günther in the interim. Dennis improved to sixth position, but continued to complain massively to his race engineer about the handling of his Andretti. Incidentally, his best time from the previous year (1:12.535 minutes) had long since fallen, due to the slightly adjusted track layout in 2023.

In the final minutes, as always, there were still some improvements. Buemi again took the top of the time table ahead of Nato. But then the Frenchman went one better, setting fastest time in all three sectors. Buemi tried to counter again but missed the best time by six thousandths of a second. Fenestraz still finished third ahead of Günther and Evans.

The second free practice session at the Hankook London E-Prix will take place on Saturday morning at 11:30 a.m. (CEST). e-Formula.news will accompany the session as usual with a free livestream as well as our extensive reporting.

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