Bird, who currently sits fourth in the Drivers' standings, skillfully navigated his Jaguar around the 2.835km street circuit but cut a corner on his fastest lap. Track limits have proved to be quite the challenge around the Hyderabad track, with several drivers getting caught out so far this weekend across the chicane. His ultimate time was enough to see him top as his hot streak continues.
The sister Jaguar of Mitch Evans was the first driver of the weekend to break into the 1m14s, as 10 minutes into the session, he set a 1m14.926s. However, it didn't take long for Cassidy to duck into the 1m13s, with much more lap time available to drivers as track conditions improved.
Championship leader Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche) was back behind the wheel after a high-speed shunt in FP1 caused him to visit a hospital for precautionary checks on Friday. The German driver reported on the radio that the throttle on his 99X Electric GEN3 car had become stuck.
Both Porsche and Avalanche Andretti cars were grounded after the incident yesterday. Still, they were back on track this morning to lock in important running during the final practice session before qualifying. The two teams that use Porsche powertrains weren't as competitive, with Wehrlein only managing to finish FP2 in seventh and championship rival Andretti's Jake Dennis in 13th.
The Julius Baer Pole Position holder last time out in Diriyah, Sebastien Buemi, only left the garage with ten minutes to go. Meanwhile, his teammate, Cassidy, seemed comfortable and finished the session in third. DS PENSKE's Jean-Eric Vergne was sandwiched in between fastest man Bird and Cassidy, going second fastest in the session - 0.113s between him and the Jaguar driver.
Just a second split the top 18, with 2.5 seconds that margin in FP1. Teams are dialling in ahead of qualifying at 10:40 local time.