Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird has topped practice at the Miami ePrix, after almost three hours of delays this morning.

Last-minute completion of track works meant that practice at the event – initially two sessions of 45 and 30 minutes each starting at 8:15am local time – was delayed at least three times and eventually reduced to a single 30 minute run from at 11am.

Once the session finally began, drivers were faced with a busy track as each competitor tried to maximise the limited time available on the bumpy and dusty circuit. Early pace was set by Stéphane Sarrazin with a 1:10.772 lap, before being jumped by Sébastien Buemi.

As the track was scrubbed clean with additional running, lap times continued to fall dramatically, and eventually it was Bird’s 1:06.588 lap that ended at the top of the time sheets, ahead of Karun Chandhok (+0.101) and championship leader Lucas di Grassi (+0.321). Also of note were series debutants Scott Speed in fourth place (+0.677) and Vitantonio Liuzzi in 8th (+1.193).

The only notable incident of the session occurred when a brake lock-up from Nick Heidfeld saw the Venturi driver head down an escape road, and whilst no damage was done to the car, he was – at least temporarily – unable to re-join the circuit.

The first of four qualifying groups (featuring Loïc Duval, Nicolas Prost, Buemi, Jarno Trulli and Heidfeld) are still due to hit the track at the originally-scheduled time of 12:00 local, leaving minimal time for the teams to analyse data from practice and make changes to the cars.

Group two comprises Bird, Chandhok, Speed, di Grassi and Daniel Abt, ahead of the third group of Liuzzi, Sarrazin, Jean-Éric Vergne, Charles Pic and Nelson Piquet Jr, with Jaime Alguersuari, Jérôme d’Ambrosio, Bruno Senna, António Félix da Costa and Salvador Durán making up the fourth group to run.

Given the limited track running so far, it is likely that the later groups will benefit from a cleaner track with more rubber laid down by the earlier cars.

2015 Formula E Miami e-Prix – Practice Results:

Driver Team / Entry Time Gap
1. Sam Bird Virgin Racing Formula E Team 1:06.558
2. Karun Chandhok Mahindra Racing Formula E Team 1:06.689 + 0.101
3. Lucas di Grassi Audi Sport ABT Formula E Team 1:06.909 + 0.321
4. Scott Speed Andretti Autosport Formula E Team 1:07.265 + 0.677
5. Daniel Abt Audi Sport ABT Formula E Team 1:07.414 + 0.821
6. Nick Heidfeld VENTURI Formula E Team 1:07.446 + 0.858
7. Nicolas Prost Team e.dams Renault 1:07.570 + 0.982
8. Vitantonio Liuzzi Trulli Formula E Team 1:07.781 + 1.193
9. Stéphane Sarrazin VENTURI Formula E Team 1:07.892 + 1.304
10. Jean-Éric Vergne Andretti Autosport Formula E Team 1:07.980 + 1.392
11. Bruno Senna Mahindra Racing Formula E Team 1:08.254 + 1.666
12. Jérôme d’Ambrosio Dragon Racing Formula E Team 1:08.495 + 1.907
13. Sébastien Buemi Team e.dams Renault 1:08.571 + 1.983
14. Charles Pic China Racing Formula E Team 1:08.625 + 2.037
15. Jaime Alguersuari es Virgin Racing Formula E Team 1:08.932 + 2.344
16. Nelson Piquet Jr China Racing Formula E Team 1:09.211 + 2.623
17. Loic Duval es Dragon Racing Formula E Team 1:09.239 + 2.651
18. Salvador Durán Amlin Aguri 1:09.357 + 2.796
19. Jarno Trulli Trulli Formula E Team 1:09.837 + 3.249
20. António Félix da Costa Amlin Aguri 1:10.156 + 3.568

The Miami ePrix race will commence at 16:00 Miami local time (UTC -4:00) this afternoon.

Image via Formula E Championship

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Mitch Timms

Journalist at MotorsportM8
Professional motorsport engineer and all-round tech head.