Just Electric

Di Grassi writes history on the streets of Zürich

In the first ever Zürich ePrix, Lucas di Grassi took the win with a magnificent drive, after a race in which decisive penalties dramatically changed the course of events.

Earlier on, Mitch Evans had grabbed his and Jaguar Racing’s first ever Formula E Pole Position. The Kiwi had a strong start of the race once the red lights went out, as he kept a significant distance to André Lotterer who was always on the chase.

Sébastien Buemi dropped some positions at the start of the race, which allowed di Grassi to move up into the battle for the win.

An eventful start of the race saw a crash between Piquet Jr. and Abt, which caused both drivers to take their cars to the pits to be repaired. The debris was not removed from the track immediately after, which raised some eyebrows.

Di Grassi had demolishing pace, and made a brilliant overtake against André Lotterer’s TECHEETAH after a tough battle. It did not take long for the Audi driver to overtake Evans, whose gap to Lotterer and di Grassi had considerably shortened at that stage of the race.

Further back in the field, Jean-Éric Vergne was making up a large number of positions, quickly entering the Top 10. The Frenchman managed to both save energy and overtake as many cars as possible, a masterclass of his abilities behind the wheel of the Formula E car.

However, the dream of positioning himself in the Top 3 was ruined, as he ran over debris from Felix Rosenqvist’s car after the Swede made contact with the barriers during a wheel to wheel battle with Vergne on the previous lap.

A rather slow pitstop then saw Vergne’s dreams of a memorable win being further tarnished; despite this, the Frenchman still managed to climb up to P3 after the car swaps before he was given a drive through penalty for overspeeding under Full Course Yellow – adding insult to injury for the championship leader.

This same penalty was also given to Buemi, Lotterer, López, and Evans, who were having good races as well. Bad luck also struck Edoardo Mortara, who had a mechanical issue and had to retire from the race. Nico Prost crashed into the barriers towards the end of the race, also retiring from the ePrix.

Prost had made a good start and remained in the Top 10 for most of the race, before his incident. Another driver who had a good start was Oliver Turvey, who started from the bottom of the grid, but was able to take home 2 points, as he went on to finish in P9.

D’Ambrosio, who had started in P4, but had dropped during the race, was able to fight back and found himself in P3 after all the penalties, the position in which he finished the race. The Belgian scored Dragon Racing’s first podium since Season 2.

The American squad had a strong weekend; and despite missing the double-points finish, as López went wide and crashed into the barriers, the performance overall was probably the best one they have shown all season.

Sam Bird had also dropped down the order at some points of the race, but the strength he showed when he defended his second place justified why the Brit is still going strong in the title fight.

As the chequered flag was waved, Lucas di Grassi conquered his first win of the season; a very valuable one, as Audi scored back-to-back victories. The Brazilian finds himself on top form again, triumphing after a difficult season to date.

His teammate Abt did not have the same luck as in Berlin, finishing in P13. His crash with Piquet Jr. hampered his performance during the race. Piquet Jr. himself retired from the race.

Luca Filippi also retired, whereas his teammate Turvey had a great drive on Swiss soil, finishing in P9. Alex Lynn did not have a clean weekend, finishing in P16.

For Mahindra Racing, the Zürich ePrix was a race of mixed feelings. Felix Rosenqvist’s crash ruined his chances of obtaining a good result; but on the other side of the garage, Zürich-inhabitant Nick Heidfeld had an outstanding performance, finishing in P6.

Antonio Felix da Costa took home points as well, finishing in P8, one position behind Mitch Evans, whose early strong lead of the race was ruined by the Drive Through penalty.

Vergne’s hopes for already being crowned champion with two races to go were ruined; as he finished in P10, after the incidents that affected his final result in the race. His teammate André Lotterer could not score another podium finish, but went on to set the Fastest Lap  with a time of 1:14.730 – immensely valuable points for TECHEETAH’s championship run.

For Venturi, things were not easy. In addition to Mortara’s retirement from the race, Maro Engel just missed the points, by finishing in P11. Over at Renault, some points were taken home, as local man Sébastien Buemi finished in P6.

Now a month separates us from the fourth season finale of the fully-electric championship. The fight is still going on, and Formula E never fails to provide us with exciting races and high drama – so it is still difficult to predict who will take the Season 4 crown. It will be known next month in New York City.

1LucasDI GRASSI39 laps
8Antonio FelixDA COSTA31.301
12José MariaLOPEZ35.206
16AlexLYNN1 Lap
NCNicolasPROST8 laps
NCLucaFILIPPI19 laps
NCNelsonPIQUET19 laps
NCEdoardoMORTARA33 laps

Andrea Perilli

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