Lucas di Grassi sent out an early warning shot to his Formula E rivals by finishing 0ne-tenth of a second ahead of season two title holder Sebastien Buemi in the first practice session of the season.
After 30 minutes of shakedown running on Saturday, the drivers and teams got their first chance to attack the Hong Kong street course in anger this morning for 45 minutes.
It was a session filled with minor scares as drivers got to grips with the tricky layout, finding the limit of adhesion at many of the tight, off-camber corners. Oliver Turvey had two stops on-track in his NextEV, the first causing a short red flag period, while T2 was a particular hot-spot for drivers making use of the run-off area. Robin Frijns (twice), Sam Bird and Felix Rosenqvist were all forced to swing their cars back in the right direction. Frijns remained under investigation after the session for a third spin at T9 that saw him block the track, also causing a red flag.
Rosenqvist put his street-course nous to good use early on, leading by three-tenths of a second for Mahindra before Jean-Eric Vergne shot to the top of the timesheets for Techeetah. Di Grassi soon blew the entire field out of the water with a lap of 1:02.381 that was more than a second quicker than anyone.
After a full course yellow practice with five minutes remaining, most drivers opted to push for one more fast lap. Defending champion Sebastien Buemi was able to get close to di Grassi, but was still 0.145s shy. Daniel Abt finished half a second behind his session-leading teammate in P3 ahead of top rookie Maro Engel and Vergne in P5.
FP2 gets underway at 1030 local time in Hong Kong.