The first weekend of March and it’s finally time for the next round of the Formula E season as they head to Mexico City for another weekend of motorsport action and drama.
Defending champion Lucas di Grassi had a disappointing weekend after a poor qualifying session, clocking a time that put him 12th fastest but grid penalties for an inverter change would put him at the back of the grid. Meanwhile, his main rival from the Renault edams team Sebastian Buemi managed to pip Mahindra’s Felix Rosenqvist for provisional pole. Last year’s Mexico City pole qualifier Turvey in the Nio team could manage 4th fastest, behind Da Costa and ahead of fellow Brit, Lynn in the DS Virgin car. Daniel Abt had a decent run and managed to qualify 6th fastest, ahead of Chile’s race winner and current championship leader Jules Eric Vergne, while the remaining slots in the top 10 were taken by Nelson Piquet Jr, Sam Bird and Nick Heidfeld at the end of the group qualifying stage. In superpole however, Rosenqvist did outpace Buemi to take the pole position with Turvey between them. Lynn’s 10-place grid penalty for his pre-event gearbox change dropped him back but moved Daniel Abt’s starting position up to 5th, just behind Da Costa’s Andretti FE car. Another grid penalty among the front runners was for Lynn’s teammate Sam Bird who would be starting at the back with Di Grassi.
After the rather chaotic reshuffling of the order after all due penalties had been applied, raceday saw plenty more drama unfold through the 47 laps around the Mexico City E-Prix circuit. Felix Rosenqvist had a good start and led comfortably ahead of Turvey and Buemi, building a gap as they approached the one-third distance. But lap 14 saw the Swedish racer’s Mahindra FE car ground to a halt which dropped him down to last place, where he stayed for quite a few laps before finally having to retire due to a mechanical problem with the battery. It was the worst result that Mahindra could have expected as they suffered a double DNF when Nick Heidfeld had to retire his car, even before Rosenqvist’s second car gave up.
Meanwhile, up ahead, Turvey and Buemi were playing cat and mouse with Daniel Abt closing the gap, having already gotten past Da Costa at the start of the race. But it was strategical brilliance and quick reactions that allowed the German driver to get into the lead spot with a lightning-quick pit stop where he came out just in front of the Nio and the Renault FE cars. From there on out, Abt drove hard and drove well to clear a gap from the rest of the pack, taking a decisive win, the first for Audi this season and his first in 38 races of Formula E. Current Championship leader, Vergne was close to Turvey after the car change but was held off and Buemi used his fanboost to get past the Techeetah racer. The Swiss got close to Turvey in the final laps but had to settle for third, while Piquet Jr. managed to get past Vergne to take fourth. Da Costa finished P7 despite a worrying moment where he went straight past the turn and into the run-off section after a lock-up, while Lucas Di Grassi managed to secure a P9 finish, with Lynn taking the final scoring position.
Rosenqvist’s disaster of a raceday allowed Vergne to extend his lead but not as significantly as a win might have. With more than half the season left, it is still very much an open race with Buemi catching up too. The sport moves further south into Uruguay for the next round two weeks from now, so stay tuned for more Formula E action and subscribe for the latest updates.
Full race result:
- D. Abt Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler – 50m45.164s
- O. Turvey Nio Formula E Team +6.398
- S. Buemi Renault E.DAMS +6.615
- N. Piquet Jr. Panasonic Jaguar Racing +7.015
- J. Vergne Techeetah +7.546
- M. Evans Panasonic Jaguar Racing +9.050
- A. Da Costa MS&AD Andretti Formula E +17.157
- E. Mortara Venturi Formula E Team +26.511
- L. Di Grassi Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler +29.208
- A. Lynn DS Virgin Racing +29.515
- J. D’Ambrosio Dragon Racing +30.418
- J. Lopez Dragon Racing + 31.859
- A. Lotterer Techeetah +36.206
- L. Filippi Nio Formula E Team +38.336
- T. Blomqvist MS&AD Andretti Formula E +38.592
- M. Engel Venturi Formula E Team +44.689
- S. Bird DS Virgin Racing +44.982
- N. Prost Renault E.DAMS DNF
- F. Rosenqvist Mahinda Racing DNF
- N. Heidfeld Mahindra Racing DNF
Photos from Formula E Media