Well-known faces in front in Mexico

The season’s fourth round of ABB FIA Formula E Championship was run in Mexico City, on the shorter version of the Formula 1 track.

Top three drivers in the qualifying all had experience in Formula 1, with Pascal Wehrlein on Pole Position ahead of Lucas Di Grassi and Felipe Massa. Oliver Rowland, Antonio Felix da Costa and Sebastien Buemi were the last drivers also in the Super Pole.

Championship leader Sam Bird had a terrible qualifying, where he didn’t set any time at all due to technical problem with the car, while Jerome D’Ambrosio, who was second in the championship had to start the race from P19. It looked like we’d get some shake-up in the championship.

There was a change at GEOX Dragon, where Felipe Nasr replaced Maximilian Günther. Nasr qualified in P14 – just ahead of his teammate Jose Maria Lopez.

Pascal Wehrlein
Photo: ABB FIA Formula E

The 22 cars were ready on the 45 degrees Celsius scorching hot asphalt, which got even more warmed up by the 29 degrees air temperature.

Wehrlein had a good start, while Rowland did a very late braking in Turn 1 and came up to second place. It costed Massa, who fell back to P6.

There was a drama on the second lap, when Nelson Piquet Jr. stopped at the barrier with a completely destroyed Jaguar. It caused a red flag.

The replay showed that Piquet Jr. flew over Jean-Eric Vergne’s car. Vergne let go of the speeder right in front of Piquet Jr., which was indicated by the rear lights on Vergne’s car. That was why Piquet Jr. flew over him, and took Alexander Sims with him. Luckily all the drivers were okay, and while Sims only needed a new front wing, the entire side of Vergne’s car was off, and he also got a puncture on the right rear tire.

Nelson Piquet Jr
Photo: ABB FIA Formula E

After 20 minutes of clean-up, the race got restarted, with about 40 minutes left. They did two laps behind the Safety Car before the restart. The majority of the field had chosen to use their first Attack Mode.

The drivers who got Fan Boost in this race were Stoffel Vandoorne, Daniel Abt, Antonio Felix da Costa, Sebastien Buemi and Lucas Di Grassi.

Antonio Felix da Costa went to attack Sebastien Buemi, when the former had a bit longer time on Attack Mode. There was a light contact between the two drivers, but the positions remained the same.

Jose Maria Lopez got a drive-through penalty because his car generated too much power under braking. The energy from the brakes got collected and recharged in the car’s batteries. To make matters worse, Lopez also got a 10-second time penalty for speeding in the pitlane.

Jose Maria Lopez
Photo: ABB FIA Formula E

Stoffel Vandoorne got a drive-through penalty for activating his Fan Boost too early. Furthermore he also got a five-second time penalty, when his Fan Boost had been a bit too powerful. A double up for the HWA driver and/or the team.

With over fifteen minutes left, Jean-Eric Vergne got in trouble when Mitch Evans punched hole into the Techeetah car’s rear.

Lopez got another 5-second time penalty for driving over the line in the pit entry.

Eight minutes before the finish, Rowland took his Attack Mode, but he lost a position to Di Grassi and even collided with his Nissan eDAMS teammate Buemi. It gave Wehrlein and Di Grassi a big gap to the two Nissan drivers.

Wehrlein had to start saving a lot of energy in the last two minutes of the race. It meant that Di Grassi was only centimetres behind him. The two had a braking duel in Turn 1, which sent them too far out.

The race ended in a chaos when different drivers ran out of power on the last lap.

Alexander Sims
Photo: ABB FIA Formula E

Both Nissan eDAMS drivers Buemi and Rowland fell back outside the points, and Massa went down to P8 when he ran out of power in the last corner.

But the biggest drama happened at the front. Lucas Di Grassi tried to overtake Pascal Wehrlein on the way into the first chicane, and there was a contact between the two cars. It meant that Wehrlein had to take a shortcut over the chicane – but not enough with that, he also ran out of power coming out of the very last corner! It meant that Lucas Di Grassi crossed the finish line first, with only 0,2 second down to Wehrlein.

Or so we thought. For the race director gave Wehrlein a five-second time penalty for cutting the chicane – and that sent him out of the podium.

Lucas Di Grassi
Photo: ABB FIA Formula E

So the final result was Lucas Di Grassi ahead of Antonio Felix da Costa, Edoardo Mortara, Jerome D’Ambrosio, Andre Lotterer, Pascal Wehrlein, Mitch Evans, Felipe Massa, Sam Bird and Daniel Abt.

Jerome D’Ambrosio is now leading the championship, in front of Antonio Felix da Costa, Sam Bird, Lucas Di Grassi, Pascal Wehrlein, Andre Lotterer, Robin Frijns, Jean-Eric Vergne, Mitch Evans and Edoardo Mortara. All these drivers are only a race win away from taking the lead of the championship, and there are only three points from Wehrlein to Mortara.

So anything can easily happen, when the next ABB FIA Formula E Championship will be run in three weeks’ time in Hong Kong.

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