ABB Formula E – New York ePrix 1 – Race
Hello MinE Fans!
As round 11 of the 2018 ABB Formula E championship got underway in Brooklyn, New York, the question on everybody’s lips was would Jean-Eric Vergne do enough to take the title today? The Frenchman started down in 18th place, whereas title rival Sam Bird lined up 14th.
The first half of the race was extremely eventful with multiple incidents and overtakes. There was immediately drama when at lights out Mitch Evans struggled to get off the line, and stopped on track. That’s disappointing for him having started 2nd on the grid. Meanwhile, into turn one, the two Dragon drivers collided with each other, causing damage, an extra pit stop, and ultimately putting them out of contention today.
At the front, Sebastian Buemi led away, but eventually got overtaken by the Audi’s who were in superb form out there. Daniel Abt got through first, and led, but then Lucas di Grassi made a daring move to steal that lead away – swerving in front of Abt in the process, nearly causing contact. Team principle Allan McNish was clearly on edge and instigated a “code 100” (no more passing) rule over the radio. However, Abt clearly wasn’t listening to the team orders and would continue to attack as the race progressed. The German wasn’t able to find a way through however and Lucas di Grassi would bring the car home for victory.
In the title battle, both Bird and Vergne were making progress through the field, both being aided by easy ‘passes’ on their team mates too. At a crucial phase of the race before the pit stops, Andre Lotterer was 9th ahead of Bird, Vergne and Alex Lynn. It was a dramatic moment to see both Techeetah’s and both DS Virgin’s running line-astern. On lap 16, Vergne would pass Bird for 10th place. A critical moment of the race. How many more spots would Jean-Eric gain though?
At the pit stop phase there was yet more drama! Felix Rosenqvist had to brake suddenly in the pits to avoid team mate Nick Heidfeld who was exiting in his second car, and then he struggled to get going again. The Swedish driver was stranded in the middle of the pit lane for several seconds with numerous cars having to take avoiding action. Thankfully, we saw no collisions. Meanwhile at the exit of the pit lane, Nelson Piquet ground to a halt and retired from the race. That will be bitterly disappointing for him as he was running solidly inside the top five. An awful day for Jaguar.
As the race progressed, Alex Lynn lost control of his car and had a very heavy accident travelling backwards into the tecpro barriers. It looked like a particularly nasty incident, as just before the moment of impact Alex instinctually moved his head forward – understandable when you’re expecting a smack from behind. However, that’s the worst thing a driver can do in that situation as you’re just extending the amount of time that your head will travel for at high speed during the impact. Thankfully, the British driver walked away unhurt. The safety car came out for that incident.
Under the safety car, di Grassi lead from Abt with Buemi 3rd. Tom Dillmann was in an extremely impressive 4th position and Vergne had found his way up to 5th. That’s exactly how the race would finish, and with Bird coming home in 9th place, Jean-Eric Vergne became the 2018 ABB Formula E Champion!
Jean-Eric is the fourth champion in as many seasons, all from four different teams too. Speaking of teams, we will see a new champion tomorrow with Renault handing the title to either Techeetah (235 pts) or Audi (230 pts).
Tomorrow should be an exciting race. The final race of the season, and the last ever race with these first generation cars. Expect optimistic lunges and multiple incidents to be the order of the day! Who do you think will win the teams’ championship tomorrow?