A dominating drive from Mitch Evans has seen the Jaguar driver win the Mexico City ePrix, taking the lead at the first corner and never being headed for the duration of the race.
Evans started from second on the grid, alongside André Lotterer who had earlier taken Porsche’s first Formula E pole position.
The Kiwi positioned his car to the inside of Lotterer into Turn 1, but locked his brakes and the pair made side-to-side contact, pushing the Porsche wide on to the grass. Evans took the lead, Lotterer fell back to fourth as he re-joined the circuit.
Nyck de Vries, who had started third, was now in second, and looked to make a pass on Evans into Turn 3 on the opening lap but bailed out of his move when his Mercedes stepped out of line under brakes – allowing Nissan e.Dams’ Sébastien Buemi through to second in the process.
The ill-handling Mercedes also gave Lotterer the chance to move his way back up to third by the end of the lap, before a Safety Car was called when Nico Müller hit the wall on the exit of Turn 1 while also attempting to pass de Vries, ending the Dragon driver’s race.
The Safety Car period bunched the field up, but Evans handled the restart perfectly, pulling away from the chasing pack and not facing another serious challenge for the duration of the race.
Sam Bird (Envision Virgin Racing) was on the attack from the resumption of racing, first finding his way past Lotterer, then successfully chasing down and passing Buemi for second. Bird’s teammate Robin Frijns also moved passed de Vries and Lotterer who, by attempting to block Frijns, made an error and also let de Vries back through.
Felipe Massa was the next driver to retire, having damaged his car by also hitting the wall at Turn 1. Lotterer would soon join him on the sidelines: having lost a further handful of positions, the German clipped the wall at Turn 3, pushing the right front wheel cover down onto the tyre – the bodywork eventually catching fire, forcing Lotterer into the pits and ultimately retirement.
Having run together from eighth and ninth on the grid, DS Techeetah team mates António Félix da Costa and Jean-Éric Vergne now sat in sixth and seventh when in front of them the battling Dutchmen – Frijns and de Vries – made contact. The ensuing incident left de Vries stranded and forced into retirement while Frijns battled on with a seemingly hobbled car, falling down the order.
Now fourth and fifth, the Techeetah team were, for a brief period, their own battle as the drivers and crew debated the best plan to manage energy while also going on the attack. After various instructions – including directives to twice swap positions – eventually da Costa charged ahead to chase down Buemi, passing for third around the outside at Turn 9.
Next in the Portuguese driver’s sights was Bird, who took his third and final Attack Mode as da Costa chased him down – gaining the extra power, but also losing time as he went off-line to activate it.
Da Costa saw his opportunity and moved to the outside of Bird through the Peraltada corner, but the Envision Virgin driver used his additional power to hold on to second place. It wasn’t for long though, as under the continued pressure Bird out-braked himself into Turn 3, nosing into the wall and losing the position. The Briton re-joined, but crashed again into retirement in the stadium just a few corners later.
Having at one stage built a 7.7-second lead ahead of the field, Evans backed off for energy management under instruction from his team late in the race, eventually taking the chequered flag by 4.271 seconds from da Costa, with Buemi rounding out the podium in third.
Vergne claimed fourth place ahead of BMW i Andretti’s Alexander Sims, whose charge from 18th on the grid gained an extra position late in the final moments of the race when Stoffel Vandoorne’s Mercedes also hit the wall at Turn 3 and forced another retirement.
Last year’s Mexico City winner Lucas di Grassi ended the race in sixth place for Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler – also a strong recovery from fifteenth on the grid.
Oliver Rowland was seventh in the second Nissan e.Dams, followed by Edoardo Mortara in the surviving Venturi, while the rest of the top ten was filled by the Mahindra pairing of Pascal Wehrlein and Jérôme d’Ambrosio – an impressive drive from the pair who both started from the rear of grid and had to take drive-through penalties for having already done exceeded the two gearboxes per car per season regulations.
Maximilian Günther (BMW i Andretti), Brendon Hartley (GEOX Dragon), Oliver Turvey (NIO 333) and Neel Jani (Porsche) rounded out the finishers.
Daniel Abt (Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler) was also a late retirement from the race, but to have made it to the race was an achievement for both the driver and team. Abt had suffered a software failure that impacted the braking system of his car in opening practice, suffering a 20G impact and sending the driver to hospital for checks. Cleared of injury, Abt returned to the circuit as the team rushed to complete the significant repair in time to start from the rear of grid.
Along with claiming victory, Evans has now moved to the top of the championship standings on 47 points, a single marker ahead of Sims. Da Costa (39 points) has moved up to third place, with Vandoorne – who had led the standings coming into Mexico City – dropping to fourth a further point behind.
Di Grassi’s charge to sixth in the race ensures the Brazilian holds on to fifth in the standings with 32 points. Bird (28 points), Rowland (28 points), Günther (25 points), Mortara (22 points) and Lotterer (21 points) round out a closely-bunched top ten.
Speaking after his victory, Evans shared his joy of taking his second Formula E win but is not putting much emphasis on taking the championship lead after only four of at least 13 races.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to be at the front but I’m not going to get too excited yet,” he said. “It feels really sweet because Santiago was a tough one for us in terms of our race management but today we obviously showed we fixed all the problems. I just want to thank the team for their work in between all the races.
“I didn’t even know I was the Championship leader. It’s nice to have, don’t get me wrong but it’s still way too early – things can change pretty quick, so I’m not going to get too far ahead of myself – things can change race by race. I know how tight it is between the top ten in the standings but I’m sure, from one race to the next things are going to switch and change pretty frequently.”
BMW i Andretti Motorsport (71 points) retains the lead of the Teams’ Championship, while Evans’ Jaguar squad have jumped up to second place with 57 points. Mercedes have slipped to third place, a single point behind Jaguar, with DS Techeetah now fourth and just another point further back. Nissan e.Dams now sit fifth on 43 points.
The fifth race of the 2019/20 FIA Formula E Championship season will occur in just two weeks’ time, with the fourth running of the Marrakesh ePrix scheduled for Saturday February 29.
|2020 Formula E Mexico City ePrix – Final Classification (36 laps)|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Result||Pts|
|1.||Mitch Evans||Panasonic Jaguar Racing||46:42.093||26|
|2.||António Félix da Costa||DS Techeetah||+ 4.271||18|
|3.||Sébastien Buemi||Nissan e.dams||+ 6.181||15|
|4.||Jean-Éric Vergne||DS Techeetah||+ 14.331||12|
|5.||Alexander Sims||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||+ 19.224||11|
|6.||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||+ 28.346||8|
|7.||Oliver Rowland||Nissan e.dams||+ 29.750||6|
|8.||Edoardo Mortara||ROKiT Venturi Racing||+ 30.204||4|
|9.||Pascal Wehrlein||Mahindra Racing||+ 31.132||2|
|10.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Mahindra Racing||+ 32.818||1|
|11.||Maximilian Günther||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||+ 35.512|
|12.||Brendon Hartley||GEOX Dragon||+ 36.399|
|13.||Oliver Turvey||NIO 333 FE Team||+ 50.888|
|14.||Neel Jani||TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team||+ 1:04.891|
|15.||Stoffel Vandoorne||Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team||Accident|
|Not Classified||Team / Entry||Reason||Pts|
|DNF.||Sam Bird||Envision Virgin Racing||Accident|
|DNF.||Daniel Abt||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||Retired|
|DNF.||Ma Qing Hua||NIO 333 FE Team||Accident|
|DNF.||Nyck de Vries||Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team||Brakes|
|DNF.||André Lotterer||TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team||Damage||3|
|DNF.||Felipe Massa||ROKiT Venturi Racing||Accident|
|DNF.||Nico Müller||GEOX Dragon||Accident|
|DSQ.||James Calado||Panasonic Jaguar Racing||Energy Use|
|DSQ.||Robin Frijns||Envision Virgin Racing||Energy Use|
- Championship points are awarded on the results of the Final Classification of each ePrix to the race’s top-ten finishers on a 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 sliding scale.
- A bonus point is awarded to the driver (Alexander Sims) and their corresponding team (BMW i Andretti Motorsport) for posting the fastest lap of the race.
- Three bonus points are awarded to the driver (André Lotterer) and their corresponding team (TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team) for claiming pole position.
- A bonus point is awarded to the driver (Mitch Evans) and their corresponding team (Panasonic Jaguar Racing) for being the fastest driver in the group stages of qualifying.
- James Calado – who provisionally finished P9 – was disqualified for exceeding the maximum 200kW power limit.
- Robin Frijns – who provisionally finished P12 – was disqualified for exceeding the maximum 200kW power limit.
Images via ABB FIA Formula E Championship
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