An absolutely mad race ensued in Mexico City as Lucas Di Grassi took an extraordinary win for ABT Audi Sport in round 4 of the Formula E season.
Photo : Formula E
Di Grassi started way down the field after a horror show in qualifying and was in last place when he pit to fix his rear wing after Maro Engel rammed into the back of him. Taking a gamble on the safety car payed dividends for the Brazilian driver as he stood on the top step of the podium at the end of the race, with Techeetah’s Jean Eric Vergne and DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird joining him in P2 and P3 respectively.
Photo : Autosport
After Daniel Abt’s pole was taken away from him over a tyre pressure technicality, Oliver Turvey led the pack for the first quarter of the race, but his NextEV car malfunctioned out of turn 1, bringing out the safety car.
Lucas di Grassi benefited from the safety car, but the same can’t be said for Mahindra Racing’s Nick Heidfeld and Renault’s championship leader, Sebastian Buemi who lost out terribly.
Once the car swaps were done, it was di Grassi leading the pack with Jerome D’Ambrosio in tow.
However, Dragon Racing driver Loic Duval stopped on track at this point, bringing out another safety car which nullified di Grassi’s and Jerome’s lead with all the cars bunching up together.
Upon restart, Jerome D’Ambrosio put up an overly aggressive defense to keep Techeetah’s Jean Eric Vergne behind. Even though a driver error on turn 1 caused Jerome to give away position to Vergne with a mere 3 laps to go, Jean Eric was left utterly furious.
“I’m extremely frustrated right now”, said JEV, “D’Ambrosio ruined my race – literally ruined my race.”
D’Ambrosio desperately ran out of energy on the last lap causing him to drop well back to P13 resulting in Sam Bird taking P3.
At the end of it, this battle with Jerome left Vergne too far back to catch up to Lucas Di Grassi who with a sensational bit of energy management took the win for ABT Audi Sport having been dead last on lap 3.
“To be honest, I don’t know”, he said after the race, “You can say luck, you can say God. After what happened last year, we had a good bit of luck.”
Photo : LAT Photographic
“The mechanics did a fantastic job and we managed to do an incredible energy-wise race to bring the car home”, said the victorious Brazilian driver.
It was a superb double points finish for Jaguar as Mitch Evans finished in a bit of a lucky P4 as he benefited from a multiple car crash in front of him, and Adam Carroll brought his Jag home in P8.
Crashes and unlucky safety car periods left India’s Mahindra Racing utterly frustrated with their cars colliding with each other causing Felix Rosenquist to DNF and Nick Heidfeld to finish in a lowly P12.
Techeetah’s new driver, Esteban Gutierrez did a respectable job on his Formula E debut with a P10 finish at his home race.
It turned out to be an utterly disappointing race for championship leader Sebastian Buemi who finished way down the order in P14. With his championship rival di Grassi winning the race, Buemi’s championship lead has been cut down to 5 points.
Was I kidding when I said the Mexico City ePrix was absolutely mental? No. Watch the highlights here courtesy of the Formula E YouTube channel.
We head to Monaco for the next round on the Formula E calendar in six weeks time on the 13th of May.
Feature image courtesy : Formula E
– Aditya Bhat.