Maximillian Günther topped a red-flagged second practice session in Rome, just ahead of the Mercedes EQ duo of Nyck de Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne.
The start of the session began with several drivers reporting issues – Nissan e.dams’ Oliver Rowland stated he had a strange lock in his rear tyres at Turn 3, whilst Jaguar’s Mitch Evans complained of a seating issue resulting in him being barely able to move his wrist.
Due to an incident on the start line at the end of first practice, Jean-Éric Vergne, Oliver Turvey and Jake Dennis were all initially absent from the second session. Vergne’s DS Techeetah and Turvey’s NIO 333 looked to have sustained the most damage in the collision.
It was not the start NIO 333 would have wanted, with their mechanics also repairing Tom Blomqvist’s car, after he swiped the barriers at the exit of Turn 14 in the first session.
With 20 minutes remaining, Günther topped the timing sheets with a 1:39.517s, nearly two-tenths ahead of championship leader de Vries and Vandoorne.
Moments later, the session was red-flagged by the Race Director due to loose kerbing at the Turn 12 chicane. With 10 minutes left on the clock, it looked as though the session would be extended to compensate.
This proved to be fortunate for Dennis, as the delay saw the BMW i Andretti team able to repair his car in time.
However, the repairs to the barriers and kerbing took longer than anticipated, resulting in the session not restarting. The section of kerbing has now been removed and will not be replaced for the weekend.
With many of the drivers unable to set representative lap times in either session, they will have their work cut out heading into the quick turnaround for qualifying.
Nissan e.Dams Oliver Rowland ended the session in fourth, with Dragon/Penske Autosport’s Nico Müller in fifth. Rookie Nick Cassidy was sixth, ahead of Evans, Pascal Wehrlein, Sam Bird and reigning champion António Félix da Costa.
Lucas di Grassi, who topped the first practice session, was 11th. He was just in front of fellow Brazilian Sérgio Sette Câmara and Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team-mate René Rast.
The Mahindra Racing duo of Alexander Lynn and Alexander Sims were 15th and 16th respectively, with the two ROKiT Venturi drivers of Norman Nato and Edoardo Mortara falling in behind them.
André Lotterer and Robin Frijns rounded out the timing sheets, with the Envision Virgin of Frijns 16 seconds behind Günther. Turvey, Vergne, Dennis and Blomqvist all failed to set a time.