Paris E-Prix – Stars of the race
Formula E’s fifth season continued with the storied backdrop of Paris playing host to the all-electric series’ first-ever wet race, with the chaos that ensued enabling some drivers to stand out above the rest. Harry Slade delves into the field’s performances and picks out his five stars of the race.
Robin Frijns – Winner
The streak continues. The Dutchman, driving for Virgin Racing not only continued Formula E’s streak of a different winner every race, with Paris being the eighth, but it was also his first ever win in the series; taking the championship lead in the process. Frijns followed up a strong qualifying display, in which he placed third behind the two Nissan e.dams drivers with a superb lap.
Frijns capitalised on the Nissan pair each suffering issues in the race to move into the lead, and from here the Dutchman mastered the conditions beautifully, surviving a safety car and several full-course yellow periods to take a commanding victory.
Maxi Guenther – Fifth
Arguably the feel-good story of the Paris E-Prix weekend was the form of German rookie Maxi Guenther. The 21-year-old had been relegated to a bit part role by Dragon Racing in previous races, a move which many would argue to be unjust for a rookie. However, in the absence of his replacement, Felipe Nasr, who chose to prioritise his IMSA duties, Guenther shone.
Firstly, the German visited superpole. This was then followed with a classy drive as the Dragon driver secured his first points of the season; moving the Penske-affiliated team off the bottom of the teams’ standings. Moreover, Guenther is now the highest placed Dragon driver in the standings, outscoring the highly-rated Jose Maria Lopez by ten points to two.
Jean-Eric Vergne – Sixth
The reigning series champion produced a calm and composed drive to return to the points from a grid slot which left him vulnerable to the chaos in Paris. From 12th, the Frenchman managed to keep his nose clean before avoiding a myriad of crashes in the latter stages of the race to secure a top six finish which in turn moves him to sixth in the championship standings.
Gary Paffett – Eighth
Reigning DTM champion Gary Paffett has suffered a tough debut season in Formula E, with an underperforming HWA car making his life all the more difficult. However, he duly delivered a reminder of his credentials in Paris, initially out-qualifying teammate Stoffel Vandoorne – a task he has struggled with at times this season – albeit to place him only 17th on the grid.
However, from here Paffett revelled in the chaos, using all his experience and guile; calmly making up positions while his rivals faltered, earning him eighth place and equalling his best result in Formula E to date.
Pascal Wehrlein – 10th
What could have been for Pascal Wehrlein? The German qualified on pole in Paris before a tyre pressure infringement demoted him and his championship-leading teammate Jerome d’Ambrosio to the back of the grid, robbing Wehrlein of a potential maiden win in the series.
This still did not deter Wehrlein from a rousing display, and the German rose like a phoenix from 22nd on the grid to finish on the edge of the points in tenth. Proving that keeping it out of the wall was key in Paris as d’Ambrosio crashed out while heading his teammate, running as high as eighth.
Image Credit: Formula E