Formula E championship leader Sebastien Buemi sent out an early statement of intent in opening practice for the Mexico City ePrix by finishing four-tenths of a second clear at the top of the timesheets.
Buemi opted to complete a qualifying simulation with his Renault e.dams car at its full power output of 200kW to post a lap time of 1:03.995 late on, edging out Dragon’s Loic Duval for first place.
Buemi and e.dams have been comfortable at the front of the pack for much of the season so far, and going on the early practice pace, the Swiss racer looks set to be a contender for the race win once again on Formula E’s first visit to Mexico.
Duval also completed his fastest lap at 200kW, but could only finish four-tenths of a second down on Buemi, while the NEXTEV TCR duo of Oliver Turvey and Nelson Piquet Jr. also completed a qualifying simulation en route to P3 and P11 respectively.
Nicolas Prost was the quickest driver not to use his 200kW lap in fourth place, finishing ahead of Daniel Abt and Jerome d’Ambrosio. Stephane Sarrazin finished seventh for Venturi in front of Nick Heidfeld, while Lucas di Grassi bounced back from a stoppage in the pit lane to end FP1 in ninth ahead of Mike Conway.
It proved to be a difficult session for Andretti as drivers Robin Frijns and Simona de Silvestro ended FP1 17th and 18th respectively. De Silvestro had been running high up the order early on, but an issue with the battery on her car caused her to stop out on track, warranting a red flag.
Practice continues at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez at 11:30am ET on Saturday ahead of the race at 5pm.