ABB Formula E – Mexico City ePrix – Race
The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez – a modified version of the F1 circuit – plays host to round four of the 2019 FIA ABB Formula E Championship.
Sam Bird (43 pts) and Jerome d’Ambrosio (41 pts) come into the race with a commanding lead in the drivers’ championship, but the pair of them had a dismal qualifying session. d’Ambrosio got held up by Jean-Eric Vergne and Robin Frijns and was unable to set a competitive lap – only qualifying 19th, meanwhile Sam Bird had a technical problem and stopped on circuit. The Brit would start dead last.
Pascal Wehrlein would secure pole position after a commanding advantage of 0.306 seconds in qualifying over Lucas di Grassi. Felipe Massa would score his best qualifying position in Formula E with 3rd, just ahead of Oliver Rowland. Antonio Felix da Costa’s BMW started 5th.
As the cars got underway, the opening lap was relatively calm by Formula E standards. Rowland made a superb move into turn one by being very late on the brakes, and jumped from 4th to 2nd. Meanwhile, Jerome d’Ambrosio made a sublime triple-overtake on the exit of the first chicane to move up to 12th.
During the early phase of the race, we saw a huge accident as Nelson Piquet made tyre-to-tyre contact with Jean-Eric Vergne. The Brazilian was launched into the air and slammed into the wall, bringing out the red flag in the process. Alexander Sims was collateral damage in that incident too. Thankfully, Piquet would emerge from the car unharmed.
The red flag caused confusion over the remaining race time, and blimey would that cause all sorts of problems at the end of the event. In the final laps of the race, Wehrlein continued to hold the lead but was seriously struggling for usable energy with only 8% available for four laps. In fact, a number of drivers were in this position including Oliver Rowland and Sebastien Buemi who were both running in the top five. On the final lap, the pace was incredibly slow as most drivers needed to conserve energy. The situation all played out on the exit of the final corner of the race – and the sprint to the line. Wehrlein hit 0% just meters before the chequered flag which allowed Lucas di Grassi to take victory on the finish line. A number of drivers suffered the same 0% fate on that final lap, and to give you an idea of the scale of the issue; Jerome d’Ambrosio started the final lap in 7th place – but crossed the line in 4th! Chaos reigns supreme once again in Formula E.
Di Grassi’s final lap was a 1:06.674. That’s 7.021 seconds slower than he managed in qualifying which demonstrates just how much energy drivers had to save on that final lap.
There will be a number of investigations coming up for the drivers who hit 0% before the line. If they used the throttle whilst on 0%, they will receive a penalty. However, the provisional results are as follows. di Grassi 1st; his first win of the season. Da Costa 2nd ahead of Mortara in 3rd who takes Venturi’s first podium of the season. d’Ambrosio came home 4th with Andre Lotterer 5th. Wehrlein crossed the line 2nd, but has already received a five second time penalty for cutting a chicane (also on the final lap) – which demotes the German to 6th. Mitch Evans came home 7th ahead of Felipe Massa 8th. Sam Bird finished the race 9th; having started from 22nd. Meanwhile, Daniel Abt finished in the final points paying position.
Expect changes when all these investigations occur. It’s going to take a long time to analyse this race in detail; but what an event!
Thank you, Mexico City.
Thank you, Formula E.