The ninth round of this year’s FIA Formula E Championship was run on the Brooklyn waterfront, New York, on Saturday.
All of the championship contenders smelled blood, since the championship leader Sebastien Buemi wouldn’t drive this weekend due to his commitment to FIA WEC for the race on Nürburgring, Germany.
Rookie Alex Lynn had sensationally qualified in Pole Position on his first ever Formula E race. Daniel Abt would start from second position, in front of Jean-Eric Vergne, and Lynn’s DS Virgin Racing teammate Sam Bird. Buemi’s closest rival in the championship Lucas di Grassi would only start from tenth – one place behind Buemi’s teammate Nico Prost. Buemi’s replacement Pierre Gasly had a tough start on his Formula E debut and only qualified 19th.
At the start there was only a few metres space for the cars to get through a hairpin. Alex Lynn got pressured by Daniel Abt and lost the lead to the latter, while Sam Bird was already up on third after he dived round the inside of Jean-Eric Vergne. There were lots of contacts on the first lap, but everyone except Mitch Evans could come around safely without substantial damages. Evans had ruined his front suspension and must go to the pits right away to change car.
Evans then went to chase for the fastest lap, which didn’t really work when Maro Engel snatched that one point from him.
Nelson Piquet Jr started a train behind him, and on the seventh lap Jerome D’Ambrosio became a little impatient and hit him from behind.
Last round’s topscorer Felix Rosenqvist only started 17th but was already up to 10th place after nine laps.
Nick Heidfeld slowly but slowly crawled up from sixth to fourth place after ten laps.
D’Ambrosio got a mechanical defect flag when his frontwing was hanging and flapping after the contact with Piquet Jr. That sent him to the pits early to get the car repaired.
On the 16th lap, Sam Bird drove past Daniel Abt, in a beautiful outbraking manouvre on the way into turn 6. On the same lap Nick Heidfeld also went past Alex Lynn, in the battle for third place.
Antonio Felix Da Costa collided with Adam Carroll on 18th lap, which sent small debris onto the track, but it wasn’t necessary to employ the Safety Car, because the debris weren’t on the ideal racing line.
Daniel Abt, Nick Heidfeld, Lucas di Grassi, Pierre Gasly and Robin Frijns could drive one lap more than the majority of the field, but it didn’t give them any advantage, since Sam Bird was still in front after everyone had pitted. In fact they all lost some positions.
After the pitstop Sam Bird led in front of Jean-Eric Vergne, Daniel Abt and Stephane Sarrazin. Sarrazin started from 11th position, but with an effective drive he went up to fourth.
Alex Lynn had to retire shortly after he changed to the second car. There was a bit of smoke before the car stopped. The team said on team radio the drive shaft might be the reason. An unfortunate ending to what supposed to be a good race for the Englishman.
With 11 laps left, Adam Carroll went out of top 10 when both Tom Dillmann and Pierre Gasly overtook the Panasonic Jaguar Racing driver on the same corner. Dillmann closed the door and Gasly slipped through.
Lucas di Grassi put a hard pressure on Felix Rosenqvist, which made the Swede spin under braking. He went backwards and hit some of the plastic barriers around the track, but the collision was enough to rip the rear wing of the car, and he had to pit for a new one.
With six laps left Nick Heidfeld hit the curb so hard that his rear suspension broke, and the German had to park the car.
And it brought a Safety Car on the track, in order to remove the car.
The race was restarted with two laps left, and with about 20% electricity left in the cars’ batteries, a lot of things could happen.
Sam Bird got a fantastic restart and he could build up a nice gap to Vergne in second position. Abt had Sarrazin right behind him, and on the way to the very last lap the former outbraked himself. It made Techeetah finish second and third with Vergne and Sarrazin. When Abt came back on the track, he almost push his teammate di Grassi off the track, but the Brazilian went past and could finish in fourth place.
It was, however, revealed that there were technical problems on Abt’s car, and he couldn’t even cross the finish line, which was very bitter after being in the podium position throughout the race.
The tenth round of this year’s FIA Formula E Championship will be run on Sunday afternoon local time.