Mitch Evans had a promising return to form in the first FIA Formula E practice session of 2021 ahead of this weekend’s season-opening doubleheader.
The Kiwi ended the 45-minute session in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, in seventh, but did head the timesheets on multiple occasions.
He was the first driver to post a sub-1.12m at the twenty-minute mark, leapfrogging him to P1. Then, as the newly resurfaced circuit began to quicken up, Evans would improve to 1.09.492 with ten minutes on the clock to once again surge to the front.
The free practice session was the first-ever time Formula E ran during the night, with both of this weekend’s races to be staged under floodlights. That meant that drivers set the best lap times in the dying stages of the session.
A late effort with the maximum 250kW power sent Mercedes driver Nyck de Vries to the top of the order on a 1m08.693s, the only driver to drop below the 1m09 threshold.
Porche’s Andre Lotterer was five-tenths back in second, ahead of Lucas di Grassi and Edoardo Mortara.
Evans failed to better his time and was shuffled back to seventh after a late flurry of maximum power laps by his rivals.
Still, the Kiwi was significantly ahead of new Jaguar teammate Sam Bird who was 20th at the chequered flag.
Reigning champion Antonio Felix da Costa ended the session just behind Evans. However, his day was punctuated by several brake dramas, which resulted in running off the road at Turn 1.
Tom Blomqvist was 13th following a robust outing for the NIO 333 outfit, who last year failed at score a point.
Nick Cassidy was 23rd and second slowest after a testing maiden outing for the former Super Formula champion. However, it was the same for all three rookies who made up the final three places.
The Formula E field will now have one more practice session before the first qualifying of the year at 2 am NZT.
Race One of the 2021 season starts at 6 am NZT tomorrow, with coverage live on the official Formula E YouTube channel.
|1||Nyck de Vries||1m08.693s|
|3||Lucas Di Grassi||+0.634s|
|8||António Félix da Costa||+0.81s|
|18||Sérgio Sette Câmara||+1.314s|