Lucas Di Grassi survived three safety car periods to win a chaotic Mexico City ePrix after starting from 15th place on the grid.
It all looked over for Di Grassi when he suffered damage to his ABT Schaeffler Audi car on lap one, after being hit from behind by Venturi’s Maro Engel. Despite visible damage to the rear his car, Di Grassi did not pit until lap three when the safety car was eventually brought out.
Two more safety cars – one when NEXTEV’s Oliver Turvey stopped on track while leading, and another later on when Loic Duval stopped on track with a problem – allowed Di Grassi to significantly save energy and nurse his car home to the most fortuitous win of his career.
After Daniel Abt had lost pole position due to a tyre pressure infringement, OliverTurvey celebrated his 30th birthday from pole and led the early laps of the race for several laps despite pressure from DS Virgin’s José María López. All looked good for the Briton until a battery issue brought an end to jis race on lap 13.
After retiring, Turvey’s car was parked in a dangerous place at the end of the pit exit, and it was several laps before the safety car was eventually brought out. During this period, Di Grassi took a gamble and pitted to swap cars and rejoined at the back of the pack.
Lopez began to pull away from second-place man Nick Heidfeld, with a train of cars forming behind the Mahindra driver. The top five all opted to pit on lap 26, and that allowed Jean-Eric Vergne to move up to second place as he opted to stay out a lap longer.
With ten laps remaining, Lopez looked on course for his first win, but he threw it away with a spin at the end of the pit straight. Buemi, who had been making progress through the field, was caught out by the spinning Lopez and spun himself at the same spot.
DUring the closing stages, Jerome D’Ambrosio came under intense pressure from Jean-Eric Vergne in the fight for second place. While the pair fought for position, Di Grassi was able to coast to an unlikely victory with just 1% energy remaining at the flag.
After several unsuccessful attempts, Vergne was able to pass D’Ambrosio late on to snatch second, with Bird sneaking through to grab third a lap later.
Jaguar’s Mitch Evans was able to keep his nose clean and save energy to take an impressive fourth – Jaguar’s best result of the season, with Nico Prost fifth despite a clumsy coming together with Heidfeld with two laps to go.
Lopez recovered from his spin to take sixth, with Abt showing a strong recovery drive to seventh place ahead of the second Jaguar of Adam Carroll.
Nelson Piquet salvaged two points from a difficult weekend with ninth, and debutant Esteban Gutierrez brought his car home in tenth to score a point in his home race.
After a frustrating race, championship leader Sebastian Buemi finished 14th – his first non-score of the season.
Images: FIA Formula E
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