ABB Formula E – Santiago ePrix – Race
Parque O’Higgins Circuit played host to it’s first ever ABB Formula E race for the Santiago ePrix in Chile. This is also the only South American race of the season.
Lucas di Grassi was the quickest man in qualifying but got excluded from the session due to “an infraction of the slow inlap procedure” which gifted Sebastien Buemi pole position ahead of rookie Pascal Wehrlein. They were joined in the top five by Daniel Abt (3rd), Sam Bird (4th) and Stoffel Vandoorne (5th). Eight teams in the top eight positions on the grid shows just how competitive the field is right now – it makes for spectacular viewing!
I have to say, these Formula E race reviews are getting increasingly difficult just due to the sheer number of incidents that occur.
Unlike in Marrakesh, the start of the race was actually fairly calm with minimal contact and all drivers being fairly well behaved. The incidents began to happen as the race progressed; for instance Alexander Sims spinning Edoardo Mortara and taking the position – for which he would later be penalised – or Andre Lotterer hitting the back of Antonio Felix da Costa, who would in turn bump into, and spin, Lotterer’s team mate Jean-Eric Vergne.
There were two full course yellows; the first for Maximilian Gunther stopping on track, and the second for Vandoorne slamming into the barriers. The second of these incidents was crucial to the way the race played out. Vandoorne was limping back to the pits with severe damage to the car, and the front three at the time (Buemi/Bird/Wehrlein) were coming to lap the Belgian driver. However, as the full course yellow was out, and Vandoorne was still circulating with reasonable pace, they could not overtake, which bunched them all together. As the race got green flagged once again, Bird was pressurising Buemi heavily for the lead, and Buemi made the type of mistake he would have done a few years back, and cracked under the intimidation – hitting the barrier and retiring from the race. Note: post-race Buemi cited a brake failure for the crash, but that does seem unlikely to be true. That incident would allow Sam Bird cross the line as the race winner ahead of Pascal Wehrlein and Alexander Sims.
That’s how they would cross the line. However, because of the volume number of incidents today, more than half of the finishers (note: there were only 14 finishers) were under investigation at the end of the race.
Sam Bird survived an investigation about being underweight to take his second podium of the season so far. Sam is the only person in Formula E to win a race in every single season. Pascal Wehrlein remains in 2nd place, but Alexander Sims has been demoted for spinning Mortara out which promotes Daniel Abt into 3rd position. Mortara classifies 4th ahead of Robin Frijns. Mitch Evans was 6th with Alex Sims ending up in 7th. Marrakesh-winner Jerome d’Ambrosio finished 8th ahead of Oliver Turvey and Jose Maria Lopez.
Bear in mind that while some investigations have been completed, these results do remain provisional. While the races are seemingly so chaotic this season, who is your prediction for who will end up champion? Let us know in the comments below. Also, do spare a thought for HWA Mercedes who are the only team yet to score a point.