Season one champion Nelson Piquet enjoyed a moment of glory in FP2 ahead of the Berlin Formula E race by topping the timesheets for NextEV TCR.
Piquet was sidelined for much of the session due to a battery failure on one of his cars, limiting him to just a single run at the end of the session. He made the most of his 200kW lap to post a fastest time of 57.909s, finishing 0.013s clear of Sam Bird who had led for much of the session.
Bird and DS Virgin Racing team mate Jean-Eric Vergne were able to get in their 200kW laps early, lifting them to P1 and P2 after five minutes. FP1 pace-setter Sebastien Buemi suffered an early setback when he locked up at T5 and went straight into the wall at the hairpin, damaging his front wing. After eventually backing out, the Swiss racer returned to the pits to change the nose on the car, only to make a similar error upon getting back out on track. This time around, he kept it out of the wall but clearly he was struggling to find the limit.
The session was red flagged with 13mins remaining after a strange accident for Stephane Sarrazin. Pushing hard on his 200kW lap, the Frenchman went straight on at T11 and slammed into the wall. While Sarrazin was able to walk away unharmed, the same could not be said of his car as the Venturi was left with a sizeable repair job ahead of qualifying; at first look, the front left, side and rear left would be in need of repair.
With five minutes left, the session resumed, prompting all of the teams to send their drivers straight out in a bid to get in a final 200kW lap ahead of qualifying. However, Rene Rast stopped on track, brining out yellow flags for that sector, and Jerome d’Ambrosio stopped in the pit lane, thwarting most 200kW attempts. Buemi found himself tripping over Renault e.dams team mate Nico Prost, while Piquet was one of just a handful of drivers to find enough space to complete a qualifying simulation. However, having set the quickest time through the middle sector where Rast’s car was stuck, the stewards may not look too kindly on the Brazilian’s lap.
Indeed, at close of session, Frijns, de Silvestro, Conway, Turvey, Duval and Piquet were all under investigation by the stewards.
Behind Piquet and the two DSVR drivers, Frijns finished fourth for Andretti ahead of Oliver Turvey and Loic Duval. Bruno Senna ended the session in P7 ahead of Daniel Abt, while Mike Conway and Nick Heidfeld rounded out the top 10. Di Grassi was left to settle for P12, while Buemi finished 15th overall, leaving us with plenty of questions unanswered heading into qualifying.