Jaguar in seventh heaven as Evans secures first FE win in Rome
Mitch Evans became Formula E’s seventh different winner from seven races this season, soaking up intense pressure in the final few laps after passing polesitter Andre Lotterer to secure his and Jaguar’s first ever race win.
The second running of the Rome E-Prix began in bizarre fashion when Dragon Racing’s Jose Maria Lopez made contact with the wall at turn 17 on lap two, bringing out the red flag to clear up a 10 car pile-up after the Argentine driver blocked the track.
After a lengthy delay, the race restarted with Lotterer in the lead, with Evans and the second HWA of Stoffel Vandoorne close behind in pursuit.
Lotterer looked assured in the lead early on but began to come under pressure from Evans at around half distance. The Kiwi, using attack mode, made his move for the lead approaching the hairpin with around 15 minutes remaining, but almost squeezed Lotterer into the wall while doing so.
The pair avoided contact and ran close together on track for the remainder of the race. Lotterer closed the gap with around 8 minutes to go but Evans almost lost the lead a few moments later when attempting to trigger attack mode himself, narrowly missing the zone on exit.
With two minutes remaining, Evans was able to successfully activate attack mode for the second time before cutting back in front of Lotterer to narrowly regain the lead.
Lotterer was able to apply pressure on the final lap, but Evans had just enough to cross the line less than a second ahead to clinch a dramatic first Formula E victory, and Jaguar’s first since joining the championship three years ago.
HWA scored its first podium finish since Formula E with Vandoorne’s spirited driver to third place. The Belgian has had rotten luck since making his debut in December, but finally secured his first race finish at the seventh attempt.
Robin Frijns climbed to sixth in the championship after converting eighth on the grid to fourth in the race. The Dutchman gained three places on the opening lap to finish half a second clear of the Nissan e.dams pair of Sebastian Buemi and Oliver Rowland.
Lucas di Grassi climbed six places from his 13th place grid slot to salvage seventh place, ahead of Mahindra’s Jerome d’Ambrosio whose eighth place finish was enough for him to regain the championship lead.
BMW Andretti’s Antonio Felix da Costa could only climb two places from his grid slot to finish ninth, losing the lead of the drivers’ championship as a result. Pascal Wehrlein was the final point- scorer finishing in 10th place for Mahindra.
Santiago race winner Sam Bird slid further off the championship lead after a second consecutive non-scoring race. The Brit was hit by Lopez on lap one and had to pit for repairs.
Jean-Eric Vergne looked on course for a strong points finish after climbing up to seventh from 16th on the grid, but finished outside of the points after picking up a penalty for overtaking under full course yellow conditions.
The Venturi pair of Edoardo Mortara and Felipe Massa both retired while running in the points, while HWA’s Gary Paffett had his race ended through contact with Lopez on lap one.
Image Credit: Formula E