24 Apr 21

FP1: Da Costa sets practice pace in Valencia

DS TECHEETAH's Antonio Felix da Costa set the pace in Free Practice 1 from Valencia's Circuit Ricardo Tormo as Formula E's 24 drivers got to grips with a traditional race track.

Reigning champion Antonio Felix da Costa headed the way in Free Practice 1 at Valencia's Circuit Ricardo Tormo with the quickest laptime of the qualifying runs, as just a second separated almost the whole field - from the DS TECHEETAH driver to Mitch Evans (Jaguar Racing) down in 20th spot.

BMW i Andretti Motorsport's Maximilian Guenther always goes well in testing in Valencia, and the young German's up there again having topped the pile twice in two years during Formula E's pre-season outing at the circuit. He finds himself second and with a platform to build upon as he searches for his maiden podium of the season.

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Oliver Rowland (Nissan e.dams) had set the early benchmark prior to the full-power runs towards the end of the session and wound up third. Jean-Eric Vergne in the sister DS was fourth - further encouragement following the Frenchman's Round 3 victory in Rome on the E-TENSE FE21's debut. 

Stoffel Vandoorne complained of his Mercedes-EQ pulling under braking but still managed fifth with Edo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing) completing the top six. 

A different challenge

The Circuit Ricardo Tormo is no stranger to Formula E, having hosted the series' official pre-season test for the past four years, since Season 4 and Gen1's swansong. It's a permanent race-track, with modifications in the form of a couple of tighter corners and a pit-straight chicane - and it's unlike any other circuit on the calendar.

READ MORE: What to expect from Formula E at a permanent racetrack

It's faster, with more long, sweeping turns than is usual of a street circuit on the Formula E calendar which will put a little more stress on the Michelin Pilot Sport EV3 tyres over the course of the weekend. As a result, the teams have been given a bonus set of Michelins to cope.

"Its circuit characteristics are very different," says Mercedes-EQ's Stoffel Vandoorne. "The corners are actually pretty fast and long, making Valencia a major challenge in terms of energy management.

PREDICTOR: Our tips on who to look out for in Valencia

"In that respect, it's probably one of the toughest circuits of the year, so racing will be intense and strategy will play a key role. Overtaking should be fairly easy but will put you at a disadvantage in terms of energy."

FANBOOST

Voting is still open for FANBOOST until 15 minutes into Round 5, with Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes-EQ) heading the way on 18 per cent of the vote ahead of Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler) and DS TECHEETAH's reigning champion Antonio Felix da Costa, NIO 333's Oliver Turvey and standings leader Sam Bird (Jaguar Racing)

YOUR VOTE COUNTS! Give your favourite driver a power-boost with FANBOOST

Coverage of Free Practice 2 follows at 09:15 CEST, with qualifying ahead of the DHL Valencia E-Prix Round 5 to come at 11:00 and the race itself at 15:00. In the meantime, catch up with the full DHL Valencia E-Prix preview.

FANBOOST FP1

For everything from the DHL Valencia E-Prix Rounds 5 & 6 and full session classifications, head to fiaformulae.com/live