Diriyah Formula E: Da Costa tops Saturday practice, Vergne crashes

Jake Boxall-Legge
Techeetah tops FP3 with da Costa as Vergne crashes
Techeetah tops FP3 with da Costa as Vergne crashes

DS Techeetah's Antonio Felix da Costa headed Saturday's Formula E practice session ahead of the Diriyah E-Prix, punching in his fastest full-power lap two minutes from the end.

Circuit conditions were vastly improved over Friday's as the track continued to rubber in, giving the drivers almost 3.5 seconds' advantage over the qualifying laps for the first race.

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Da Costa posted a 1m11.084s lap to pick off Oliver Rowland's then-pacesetting time, as the Nissan e.dams driver was the first to submit a lap time on the full allowance of 250kW.

After Rowland tapped into the maximum power levels with 10 minutes to go, the practice order began to shuffle around as the field prepared for qualifying runs.

Once Da Costa had completed a clean sweep of best sector times, Friday's polesitter Alexander Sims plonked his BMW Andretti car into second, before race one winner Sam Bird dispatched his countryman to take runner-up spot - just 0.022s behind Da Costa.

Sims enjoyed multiple appearances at the top of the timing boards during the 200kW runs in the early stages, trading times with Da Costa, Edoardo Mortara and Rowland throughout the middle portion of the session.

Rowland's original full-power benchmark was good enough for fourth place, just 0.030s clear of Mahindra's Pascal Wehrlein.

Techeetah tops FP3 with da Costa as Vergne crashes
Techeetah tops FP3 with da Costa as Vergne crashes

Wehrlein had set the then-fastest middle sector on his lap, before encountering Venturi's Mortara in the final sector - which hindered any further progress up the timing board.

Robin Frijns popped up into sixth despite encountering the glacial Ma Qing Hua towards the end of his final lap, the Envision Virgin driver heading the works Audi duo of Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi.

Sims' team-mate Maximilian Guenther bagged ninth, while Mitch Evans completed the top 10 for Jaguar.

Jerome d'Ambrosio was the last driver in the 1m11s bracket in 11th, beating Sebastien Buemi by 0.2s.

Mortara and team-mate Felipe Massa were locked in 13th and 14th; having spent the majority of the session around the upper echelons of the field, the two could not capitalise on full-power running.

Having impressed with podium finishes on Friday, Andre Lotterer and Stoffel Vandoorne could only occupy 15th and 16th overall for Porsche and Mercedes respectively.

Reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne endured another miserable session, propping up the timesheets after hitting the wall at Turn 16 in the opening 10 minutes, which broke his left-rear suspension.

Techeetah quickly repaired the damage to his car, but Vergne was unable to rejoin the session despite getting back into the cockpit as he had to have a precautionary battery change due to the high level of g-force recorded in his wallstrike.

Vergne is expected to take part in qualifying later on Saturday.

FP3 times

Pos

Driver

Team

Car

Time

Gap

Laps

1

Antonio Felix da Costa

DS Techeetah

DS

1m11.084s

-

25

2

Sam Bird

Virgin

Audi

1m11.106s

0.022s

23

3

Alexander Sims

BMW

BMW

1m11.177s

0.093s

26

4

Oliver Rowland

e.dams

Nissan

1m11.493s

0.409s

28

5

Pascal Wehrlein

Mahindra

Mahindra

1m11.523s

0.439s

25

6

Robin Frijns

Virgin

Audi

1m11.608s

0.524s

23

7

Daniel Abt

Audi

Audi

1m11.643s

0.559s

24

8

Lucas di Grassi

Audi

Audi

1m11.696s

0.612s

23

9

Max Guenther

BMW

BMW

1m11.885s

0.801s

31

10

Mitch Evans

Jaguar

Jaguar

1m11.925s

0.841s

26

11

Jerome d'Ambrosio

Mahindra

Mahindra

1m11.968s

0.884s

25

12

Sebastien Buemi

e.dams

Nissan

1m12.171s

1.087s

27

13

Edoardo Mortara

Venturi

Mercedes

1m12.197s

1.113s

27

14

Felipe Massa

Venturi

Mercedes

1m12.223s

1.139s

22

15

Andre Lotterer

Porsche

Porsche

1m12.239s

1.155s

27

16

Stoffel Vandoorne

Mercedes

Mercedes

1m12.319s

1.235s

25

17

Nico Muller

Dragon

Penske

1m12.370s

1.286s

25

18

Brendon Hartley

Dragon

Penske

1m12.717s

1.633s

27

19

Nyck de Vries

Mercedes

Mercedes

1m12.740s

1.656s

25

20

Ma Qing Hua

NIO

NIO

1m12.755s

1.671s

28

21

Oliver Turvey

NIO

NIO

1m12.755s

1.671s

24

22

Neel Jani

Porsche

Porsche

1m13.087s

2.003s

27

23

James Calado

Jaguar

Jaguar

1m14.004s

2.920s

20

24

Jean-Eric Vergne

DS Techeetah

DS

1m17.144s

6.060s

6


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