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Di Grassi seals photo-finish Mexico City E-Prix victory

18th Feb 2019 2:35 pm

The Mexico City E-Prix saw di Grassi pip Mahindra Racing’s Pascal Wehrlein at the finish line, while both Nissan drivers ran out of power with a lap to go.

Mexico City served up a thriller of a Formula E race that culminated in a tight battle for the win, with Audi’s Lucas di Grassi edging out Mahindra Racing driver Pascal Wehrlein at the finish line.

Wehrlein had started the race from pole and held on to the advantage after the first lap, while behind him, Oliver Rowland moved up from fourth to second. However, the race was soon red-flagged when Nelson Piquet Jr’s car was launched into the barrier as he attempted to pass Jean Eric Vergne coming into Turn 14. Vergne and Alexander Sims’ cars suffered damage as a result of the incident. However, the red flag period gave teams the opportunity to fix the damaged cars in the pit lane.

The race resumed behind the safety car with 40 minutes left on the clock, with Wehrlein once again leading the pack with Rowland and di Grassi in tow. The safety car stayed out a lap longer than expected, which meant that Sebastien Buemi, Felipe Massa and a number of other drivers who activated their attack mode immediately after leaving the pits would run out of the extra power sooner. The top three benefitted by activating their attack mode on the last of the two laps behind the safety car and managed to maintain their distance from Buemi and Antonio Felix da Costa, who were running in fourth and fifth respectively.

The top five drivers bunched up towards the end of the race and di Grassi used his Fanboost advantage to further close the gap to Rowland.  With nine minutes left on the clock, di Grassi finally moved past Rowland as the Nissan driver went wide at the end of the attack mode zone. While di Grassi then set his sights on Wehrlein, behind him, both Nissan drivers ran out of energy with a lap still to go.

As di Grassi and Wehrlein battled it out for the win, it soon became evident that Wehrlein’s car was running out of energy too. With just 5 percent of energy left and three laps still to go, Wehrlein had to lift off and coast to preserve energy. He ultimately ran out of energy on the run to the finish line, enabling di Grassi to slip down the inside to win the race by half a car’s length.

Wehrlein was handed a five-second penalty after the race for cutting the Turn 4 chicane on the final lap, which dropped him to sixth place. This promoted da Costa to second place and Edoardo Mortara to third. Wehrlein’s team-mate Jerome D’Ambrosio finished the race in fourth place, handing him enough points to move into the lead of the drivers’ championship once again. After starting the race in 19th place, Andre Lotterer made his way up the field to finish fifth.

Massa scored his first Formula E points with an eighth-place finish, behind Mitch Evans. Meanwhile, Sam Bird and Daniel Abt wrapped up the final point-scoring positions in ninth and 10th place respectively, rising from 22nd and 21st on the grid.

Despite missing out on what could have been the team’s fourth consecutive podium this season, Mahindra Racing still leads the teams’ standings, 10 points clear of second-placed Virgin Racing.

Race result

POS

DRIVER

TEAM

CAR

LAPS

GAP

1

Lucas di Grassi

Audi

Audi

45

1h13m15.422s

2

Antonio Felix da Costa

BMW

BMW

45

0.436s

3

Edoardo Mortara

Venturi

Venturi

45

0.745s

4

Jerome d'Ambrosio

Mahindra

Mahindra

45

1.159s

5

Andre Lotterer

DS Techeetah

DS

45

1.785s

6

Pascal Wehrlein

Mahindra

Mahindra

45

5.210s

7

Mitch Evans

Jaguar

Jaguar

45

5.800s

8

Felipe Massa

Venturi

Venturi

45

8.084s

9

Sam Bird

Virgin

Audi

45

8.356s

10

Daniel Abt

Audi

Audi

45

8.438s

11

Robin Frijns

Virgin

Audi

45

9.044s

12

Oliver Turvey

NIO

NIO

45

11.252s

13

Jean-Eric Vergne

DS Techeetah

DS

45

19.153s

14

Alexander Sims

BMW

BMW

45

20.471s

15

Tom Dillmann

NIO

NIO

45

20.871s

16

Gary Paffett

HWA

Venturi

45

23.272s

17

Jose Maria Lopez

Dragon

Penske

45

41.542s

18

Stoffel Vandoorne

HWA

Venturi

45

43.425s

19

Felipe Nasr

Dragon

Penske

45

1m56.160s

-

Oliver Rowland

e.dams

Nissan

44

Out of energy

-

Sebastien Buemi

e.dams

Nissan

44

Out of energy

-

Nelson Piquet Jr.

Jaguar

Jaguar

2

Accident

 

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