Both Free Practice sessions gave us a ton of excitement in Rome with many twists and turns catching drivers out but not Oliver Rowland or Jean Eric Vergne who topped the sessions, both under 90 seconds.
We are just over halfway for the ABB FIA Formula E Championship as Round 7 gets underway in the Italian city of Rome. The 21 turn track promises to be an electrifying spectacle with very tight corners as soon as the lights go out. We have seen 6 different winners so far at the first 6 races of the season with both the drivers and constructors championship changing standings many times over the course of the year but it is currently Antonio Felix Da Costa holding the top spot of 62 points but there is only a 10 point difference down to 6th.
Early start for FP1 at 7:30am (local time) but we see many of the drivers raring to go as they head out the pits as soon as the session begins. Despite the very intricate corners, we could clearly see how the cars were flying when they were up to 200kw with all four wheels lifting off the ground through a certain part of the track.
Continuing on with those pesky corners, cars were already being caught out at different places around the track. We saw Lucas Di Grassi and Robin Frijns going straight on at turn 13 and Frijns continued to have issues with a huge lock up at turn 14 along with Jean Eric Vergne going straight on. Frijns was having a difficult morning when we saw him lock up again at turn 5 later on in the session and we also saw Felipe Massa doing the same towards the end of his run but it was Mitch Evans who came off worse who had the first wall contact of the E-Prix as he hit his right rear tyre just after turn 15.
Times continued to tumble from the get go with Vergne setting the pace with a 1:32.999 but we saw a different name many times at the top of the time sheet with Daniel Abt putting in impressive times, Sam Bird giving everything he had and championship leader, Da Costa trying to hold his spot but once again, Oliver Rowland comes in a goes quickest with a 1:29.738 to show that he is not to be counted out.
We move onto FP2 at 10am (local time) and as we see the sunshine coming out, we see the drivers raring to go for their second stint of the day but things did not start well for Di Grassi as he hit the wall and managed to take a whole banner with him. As the banner caught under the wheel, it broke into pieces and, unfortunately, Andre Lotterer picked some up on his lap too. Just as that incident seemed to clear itself up, we saw Jose Maria Lopez lock up and go straight into the wall at turn 16, causing a red flag. It was then discovered he had broken his front right suspension with the wishbone becoming detached. Pit Lane Commentator Nicki Sheilds spoke to Lopez who assured us all that the car would be ready for Qualifying later on today.
After Lopez managed to nurse his car back to the pits and the red flag was lifted, we were good to go again with Da Costa topping the times at the halfway point of the session with a 1:30.779. Just as drivers began to get up to speed again, we had a yellow flag at turn 13 courtesy of Felipe Massa. Massa locked up and spun at the run off area then began complaining of having no drive. After speaking to the Venturi Formula E team, they revealed Massa had a drive shaft issue which would be able to be fixed in time for Qualifying.
Despite all the issues happening in both sessions, Vergne managed to put his car in exactly the right place for FP2 and put in a very impressive time of 1:29.370. Fresh off his win in China, Vergne wishes to show everyone that he is the champion that we all know him to be.
Stay tuned with Overtake Motorsport for all the Rome E-Prix news throughout Qualifying, Super Pole and the race.
Feature Image Credit: DS TECHEETAH Twitter Page