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Ad Diriyah E-Prix: António Félix da Costa wins season 5 opener

17th Dec 2018 2:26 pm

Mahindra Racing secures a podium finish with d’Ambrosio clinching 3rd place behind Vergne.

António Félix da Costa has become the first driver to win a race in Formula E’s new Gen2 era. The Portuguese racer fended off Jean-Éric Vergne to win the 2018-19 season opening Ad Diriyah E-Prix for BMW Andretti.

After initially overshooting his grid slot, pole-sitter da Costa had his car lined up pointing toward the outside wall at the start, but he managed to hold on the lead, off the line. Behind him, Sébastien Buemi passed José María López around the outside of the first corner to slot into 2nd. However, the yellow flags were out soon as Edoardo Mortara went into the barriers at the official Turn 1.

As da Costa consolidated his lead, Buemi started slipping down the order by lap 9 with both Techeetah drivers – Vergne and André Lotterer – catching up to him and passing him in quick succession. Vergne then started closing the gap to da Costa; the top two ran nose-to-tail through lap 14 before Vergne moved into the lead – again going around the outside of Turn 18, despite da Costa's fierce defence.

Just when it seemed like Vergne was in a good position to win the race, both he and his team-mate Lotterer were handed drive-through penalties for going over the maximum permitted power while using regeneration, which dropped them back into the pack. Felipe Massa, Gary Paffett and Alexander Sims were also handed drive-through penalties for the same offence.

This handed the race lead to da Costa, once again. López and Mahindra Racing’s Jérôme d'Ambrosio also benefitted from the penalties, shaking up the order; both were up to 2nd and
3rd place respectively, by lap 24. The pair switched places at the end of that lap as López went through the attack mode zone but failed to activate the system.

By this stage, Vergne ran 5th, with Lotterer at 7th and the pair quickly surged back towards the front. Vergne took 4th from López, who appeared to miss activating his attack mode again. However, the Dragon driver stopped with a broken left-rear suspension on the next lap, bringing out the safety car.

Just before the safety car came in, da Costa and Vergne took their second attack mode activations, with the leader immediately pulling clear of d'Ambrosio. Vergne took 2nd as he shot up the main straight on lap 30, and although he closed in on da Costa, the Portuguese driver held on to win by 0.4secs and claimed his first Formula-E victory since the 2014-15 season.

Mahindra Racing may have had a disappointing start to the race, with Felix Rosenqvist stopping early on, but the team ultimately secured a podium finish with d’Ambrosio finishing in 3rd place. Mitch Evans ended the race in 4th place, ahead of Lotterer, Buemi and Formula E rookie Oliver Rowland.

The Audi duo of Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi – who started 18th on the grid after having his best time deleted in qualifying – finished 8th and 9th, respectively. Nelson Piquet rounded off the top 10, ahead of the Virgin Racing drivers Sam Bird and Robin Frijns, who also lost their best qualifying times for the same power infraction as di Grassi.

Result - 33 laps:

POS

DRIVER

TEAM

     

GAP

 

1

António Félix da Costa

BMW

   

46m29.377s

-

 

2

Jean-Éric Vergne

DS Techeetah

   

46m29.839s

0.462s

 

3

Jérôme d'Ambrosio

Mahindra

   

46m33.410s

4.033s

 

4

Mitch Evans

Jaguar

   

46m34.760s

5.383s

 

5

André Lotterer

DS Techeetah

   

46m34.956s

5.579s

 

6

Sébastien Buemi

e.dams

   

46m36.002s

6.625s

 

7

Oliver Rowland

e.dams

   

46m38.482s

9.105s

 

8

Daniel Abt

Audi

   

46m39.196s

9.819s

 

9

Lucas di Grassi

Audi

   

46m40.313s

10.936s

 

10

Nelson Piquet Jr.

Jaguar

   

46m40.941s

11.564s

 

11

Sam Bird

Virgin

   

46m41.124s

11.747s

 

12

Robin Frijns

Virgin

   

46m41.566s

12.189s

 

13

Oliver Turvey

NIO

   

46m42.481s

13.104s

 

14

Tom Dillmann

NIO

   

46m43.650s

14.273s

 

15

Maximilian Gunther

Dragon

   

46m45.538s

16.161s

 

16

Stoffel Vandoorne

HWA

   

46m49.390s

20.013s

 

17

Felipe Massa

Venturi

   

47m12.987s

43.610s

 

18

Alexander Sims

BMW

   

47m17.089s

47.712s

 

19

Edoardo Mortara

Venturi

   

47m03.922s

1 Lap

 

-

Jose Maria López

Dragon

   

32m19.405s

Retirement

 

-

Gary Paffett

HWA

   

12m19.479s

Retirement

 

-

Felix Rosenqvist

Mahindra

   

11m01.072s

Retirement

 

 

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