Free Practices 1 and 2 were a real test for the Formula E drivers as many of them were caught out through various turns and chicanes, meaning laps had to be scrapped and restarted to see where they could place.
Free practice 1 started well with most cars making their way out onto the track to do a lap of the Mexico E-Prix circuit before turning things up and giving it their all. By 36 minutes remaining of the session, all 22 cars had made it out on the 1.3 mile Formula E configuration, ready to show us what they were capable of.
Robin Frijns of the Envision Virgin Racing team was the first to set a time on track with a 1.01:129 which he managed to do in the first five minutes of the session. Despite Frijns starting strong, he began to make small errors such as a lock up at turn 1 and at the first chicane (turn 3), Frijns lost the rear and had a spin as soon as he touched the breaks. He still managed to set another great time of 1.00:191 with 21 minutes remaining but when FP1 came to a close, he only managed to finish 14th. Sam Bird, Frijns’ teammate and championship leader, finished 9th.
Frijns was not the only one to have bad luck at turn 1. This pesky corner caught many of the drivers out including Nelson Piquet Jr, Tom Dillmann, Jose Maria Lopez, Felipe Massa, Pascal Wehrlein and the winner with a total of three mishaps at turn 1 goes to Andre Lotterer from the DS Tcheetah team. Lotterer was also seen at the first chicane and it was questioned whether he came to a stop, which is a rule at the chicane, but after a slow motion replay, it was shown he did manage to stop the car all the way and he was allowed on his way.
Luckily for Lotterer, he did not come under investigation but other drivers weren’t so lucky. Lopez was under investigation for too much power during regeneration and Jerome D’Ambrosio was under investigation for a pitlane speed violation. Wehrlein was also being investigated for not stopping after cutting the chicane at turn 4 which was clear to see after a slow motion replay.
Antonio Felix Da Costa was the first to put in a lap time in under a minute, an impressive 59:823 and by the end of FP1, a grand total twelve drivers managed to complete this as well. We saw the likes of Lucas DiGrassi, Stoffel Vandoorne and Sebastian Buemi get fantastic lap times all under one minute but it was Daniel Abt who finished FP1 with the best time of 59:319 with only 1 minutes 8 seconds remaining of the session.
Moving onto Free Practice 2, things weren’t much different with turn 1 still catching people out including Bird, Massa, Abt and Piquet. Oliver Turvey was the second man on track to have a little brush with the wall between turns 13 and 14 which broke his front left suspension. Gary Paffet, unfortunately, hit the wall in the same area in FP1, claiming that he could feel something was bent which could have contributed to his stuggles in FP2 as he finished 20th.
Once the gaunlet had been thrown with the under 1 minute challenge, times were continuing to drop. The first time was set by Sebastian Buemi but that was quickly broken 15 seconds later by Mitch Evans who set a 59:876. You could see a real fight from the drivers in Mexico as Season 5 continues to get underway and despite drivers complaining of vibrations along with issues with their rear tyres, it was Da Costa who managed to set an amazing 58:323 and went P1 in FP2.
Make sure to check back on Overtake Motorsport for all Mexico E-Prix action from qualifying and the race.
Feature Image Credit: ABB FIA Formula E Website