The Mexico City E-Prix played host to a race of youth vs experience, as veterans and former series champions faced off against a raft of rookies attempting to shape their name into the fabric of the sport. The Formula E series left Mexico City featured a plethora of top performers and Harry Slade picks out his five standouts from the race.
Lucas Di Grassi
The Brazilian put his Santiago disappointments firmly behind him with a jaw-dropping victory – leading nothing but the crucial race deciding final metres – allowing him to rekindle his championship assault. The former Series champion found himself locked in a battle for much of the race with the rookie pairing of Pascal Wehrlein and Oliver Rowland, with Di Grassi ultimately prevailing for his second win in Mexico City. This completed a hat-trick for the Audi team at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit.
Edoardo Mortara capitalised on a rejuvenated Venturi squad to propel the Monegasque outfit to its first podium of the season. The Swiss-Italian racer was a respectable ninth in qualifying, only to be upstaged by illustrious teammate Felipe Massa. Mortara showed resilience in spending much of the race shadowing the Formula One Grand Prix winner, before finally moving clear of the Brazilian in Attack Mode. Whilst it seemed that would be all the Venturi driver could muster, Mortara had other ideas. As the race entered its closing minutes the 32-year-old had preserved than his rivals, allowing him to capitalise on the issues befalling the Nissan e.dams pairing, culminating in a shock podium for Venturi.
The Belgian, overshadowed by his teammate Pascal Wehrlein since his debut in the series, produced a magnificent drive, coming from the tail-end of the field to fourth following another lacklustre qualifying display – this time ahead of his teammate following his five second time penalty. All of this allowed the Marrakesh E-Prix victor to reclaim the championship lead. The result was superb in its own right, due to the trials and tribulations of similarly equipped rivals Sam Brid, Daniel Abt, and Robin Frijns – the trio finishing ninth, tenth and eleventh respectively from similarly lowly grid slots to the Mahindra driver.
Another weekend in the Formula E series and another scintillating Pascal Wehrlein performance. The former DTM champion begun his weekend with an utterly dominant superpole lap claiming his first Julius Baer Pole Position in style. The German got off the line cleanly, moving to the inside to defend against Di Grassi’s Audi. From there it was a race under consistent pressure, but never relenting under from fellow rookie Oliver Rowland and former series champion Di Grassi.
The Mahindra driver failed to wilt under the extremities of the situation. However, it became apparent that in the heat of battle Wehrlein had miscalculated his battery life, running much lower than his perennial adversary Lucas Di Grassi. The former Sauber F1 driver was forced to cut the chicane in the battle with the Audi driver – the stewards giving the German a five-second time penalty for his troubles. Adding to his woes, Di Grassi unbelievably stole the win on the line due to Wehrlein’s energy hitting zero percent, costing him the chance to take his maiden win.
Formula E left Mexico City with a pair of rookies delivering a pair of performances in the upper echelons. Oliver Rowland found himself competing in his first superpole session, bested statistically, by arguably the best qualifier on the Formula E grid Sebastien Buemi. At the start, the Nissan driver produced a daring move, diving up the inside of Di Grassi and Massa, promoting himself to second. Rowland then spent much of the race harrying fellow rookie Wehrlein.
Identifying the second attack mode activation as his best chance at a debut win, Rowland pushed too hard in a failed attempt to reduce the gap to the Mahindra driver, then ran wide, allowing Di Grassi to sweep past. This left Rowland susceptible to an attack from Buemi, leading to slight contact and all but ruling him out of contention for victory. However this was only the beginning of a plethora of woes awaiting the Brit, who then was plagued by energy troubles brought about by a miscalculation from his team, leaving both him and his teammate Sebastien Buemi out of the race with a lap to go. Rowland left Mexico City empty-handed, but with his reputation enhanced greatly.
Images: Nissan, Mahindra and ABB Formula E
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