Di Grassi catches up in Mexico
The fourth, Mexican round of the Formula E season was probably the best race of the season by far. Several safety cars, starting-grid penalties, confusion in the pits, surprise accomplishments and the championship race taking an exciting turn.
Lucas Di Grassi took victory and managed to close the rather sizable points gap between himself and Sebastien Buemi. Jean-Eric Vergne earned his second podium in a row with a daring drive late on in the race and Sam Bird was, for once, on his game and took the third podium.
The Abts, Renaults and Dragon Racing cars had all received starting grid penalties, which mixed up the line-up pretty well. Championship leader Buemi was making good progress up the field but he spun out and then hit one of the Mahindra cars which also spun and took out its team-mate as a result. So, not a good day for Nick Heidfeld (12th) and Felix Rosenqvist, who was forced to retire.
As a result Nicolas Prost was the only Renault to score points as 5th and Di Grassi’s team-mate, Daniel Abt was 7th. Jose Maria Lopez, who was in the Top-3 for a long time, also spun out towards the race’s end, ending up 6th.
For Panasonic Jaguar however, the race-results were a fantastic with both cars ending up on points with Mitch Evans achieving a highly respectable 4th place and Adam Carroll adding to the tally with his 8th place finish.
NextEV had a bitter-sweet day with the pole position going to Oliver Turvey who ended up having to retire. Thanks to the madness of the ending laps, his team-mate and inaugural season champion, Nelson Piquet Jr. was able to rise to 9th and points. For the same reason, Esteban Gutierrez, who was making his Formula E debut, rose up to 10th to take the final point. Beyond that, his race had been quite so-and-so, but at least this is a promising start for the Mexican at his home circuit.
As mentioned above, pole leader Oliver Turvey’s car froze near the pit-exit. Similarly, Loïc Duval’s Dragon Racing car froze in the chicanes some laps down and Felix De Costa’s late in the race all resulting in the track being yellow flagged or on a safety car session for long periods. This benefitted the Jaguars somewhat who saved energy and stayed with the pack. Venturi’s Maro Engel also bumped into other cars leaving debris on the track.
The Venturis’ fate was truly sealed on the pit-stops however, as both cars bafflingly left the pits without completing the 1 minute change period, resulting in penalties (and in Engel’s case a retirement due to his battery running down to 0%).
Championship Top-3 (4 rounds out of 12)
- Sebastien Buemi, Renault e.Dams (76 points)
- Lucas Di Grassi, Abt-Schaeffler (71 points)
- Nicolas Prost, Renault e.Dams (46 points)