ABB Formula E – Paris ePrix – Race
The Circuit des Invalides hosts its 4th Formula E race this weekend, and the 8th race of the 2019 FIA ABB Formula E season. Jean-Eric Vergne, Lucas di Grassi and Sebastien Buemi are the previous winners of this event, but can they do it again?
In qualifying, Pascal Wehrlein became the first driver to take more than one pole position this season with a brilliant lap; beating Oliver Rowland to pole by 0.152 seconds. Buemi lines up 3rd to make it a strong qualifying for Nissan, ahead of Robin Frijns in 4th. The “honorary” F1 World Champion, Felipe Massa, will start in 5th. Meanwhile, championship leader, Jerome d’Ambrosio, starts 6th. With Jerome’s closest title rivals starting further down the order; Andre Lotterer 8th, Lucas di Grassi 10th, Antonio Felix da Costa 14th, Mitch Evans 20th – this is a golden opportunity for Jerome to take control of the championship.
Disaster for the Mahindra drivers before the race though as the pair of them were demoted to the back of the grid for “minimum tyre pressure offences”. Oliver Rowland therefore inherits his second pole of the season.
Due to the disparity in water accumulation on either side of the grid, race director Scot Elkins took the decision to begin the race with a rolling start to ensure greater fairness. That prevented any of the usual turn one drama we would usually see, however, the rest of the race more than made up for it.
In the early stages, Rowland would drive straight into the wall and lose the lead, followed by Buemi having to pit with a problem. It could have been a 1-2 finish for the Nissan team today but the race turned out to be a disaster for them! Robin Frijns took the lead ahead of Andre Lotterer, and that’s how they would finish the race too. However, behind is where the real action happened as the rain began to fall, followed by hail, then more rain, and eventually, a drying track.
Formula E is usually fairly bonkers as race series go, but the bar got moved way up today. Quite literally every car either made contact or had to drive down an escape road at least once during the race. Practically every single lap had some form of incident to the point where it was impossible to keep up with the action. There were a few pile-ups, broken pieces of carbon fibre all over the circuit and cars having spins on the exit of corners. If you have not watched this race, I strongly urge you to go check out the highlights on the ABB Formula E YouTube channel. It’s worth watching.
So as mentioned Robin Frijns did indeed take the win from Andre Lotterer. Incidentally, they are now the top two in the championship too with Robin one point clear. It’s particularly pertinent that Robin would take the win with Dutch national holiday Koningsdag taking place today also. It’s a celebration of the birthday of the currently reigning King Willem-Alexander. Popular German driver Daniel Abt finished 3rd ahead of team mate Lucas di Grassi. Maximilian Günther brought his Dragon home in 5th for his first points of the season. Previous race winners Jean-Eric Vergne and Antonio Felix da Costa finished 6th & 7th respectively. Gary Paffett was 8th for Mercedes, equalling his best result of the season so far. Felipe Massa finished 9th after several spins, having been running as high as 3rd in the early stages. Meanwhile, demoted pole sitter Pascal Wehrlein scored the final point for 10th.
The incredible streak of different race winners continues; Robin Frijns becomes the 9th different winner in nine races. Unbelievable. I don’t think I have ever enjoyed a season more!
I feel like I should go through the championship standings, but honestly, at this stage, what’s the point? The top eight drivers are separated by 22 points – that’s less than the amount of points awarded for a race win! Any of the top 13 drivers have a reasonable chance of taking the title.
Just five races to go! Mark my words, this season is going down in motor racing history. It’s absolutely astonishing.
Who do you tip to win the title? Let us know in the comments below, and join us at MinE Drivers for the next race in Monaco.