Sam Bird tops the timesheets in opening session of Valencia test

Jaguar TCS Racing's Sam Bird topped the timesheets in the first session of testing at Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Valencia, as the 2021/22 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship kicked off in earnest.

The Brit set the benchmark with a 1m27.169s late in the session, pipping 2016/17 champion and ROKiT Venturi Racing new boy Lucas di Grassi by 0.101 seconds. 

Envision Racing's Robin Frijns found himself third quickest after a 35-lap spell on-track, while Season 7 runner up made it two Venturis in the top four, a quarter of-a-second back from Bird's best.

Antonio Felix da Costa wound up fifth fastest in the DS E-TENSE FE21, with Oliver Rowland enjoying his first morning in new surroundings at Mahindra Racing sixth.

Reigning champion Nyck de Vries placed ninth on the timesheets, just ahead of teammate Stoffel Vandoorne, who rounded out the top 10. Both racked up more than any other driver, with the team clocking the most miles, and some 90 laps, in the opening session.

The top 18 drivers were split by just a second, with rookie trio Oliver Askew (Avalanche Andretti), Antonio Giovinazzi (DRAGON Penske Autosport) and Dan Ticktum (NIO 333) another couple of tenths back in 20th, 21st and 22nd respectively.

As always at testing, being fastest isn't always the priority, with a lot of work to be done between now and close of play on Thursday afternoon