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

    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.

    Published On Feb 18, 2019 02:35:00 PM

    3,544 Views

    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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