Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s Daniel Abt claimed his maiden Formula E victory on his birthday after two other drivers span out of the lead of the Hong Kong ePrix.
Abt spent most of the race behind rookie Edoardo Mortara, who looked set to win his second ever ePrix, when the Venturi driver span in the closing stages of the race, dropping to third.
The drama started early in Hong Kong. After the starting lights failed, the race began behind the safety car. Pole sitter Felix Rosenqvist made a good start to pull away down the first straight, only to lock up and spin at the first corner. He plummeted down the order, making contact with Nelson Piquet Jnr as he rejoined towards the back of the field.
Mortara inherited the lead and managed the gap back to Abt for most of the race. Despite his limited FE experience, the Venturi driver managed the useable energy well and was able to pit a lap later than Abt, extending his advantage.
Abt closed in on Mortara late in the race, and had just activated his Fanboost to close the gap to the leader when Mortara span. He swept past the stationary Venturi, eventually finishing 5.276s ahead of second place.
After his early spin, Rosenqvist put in an astonishing drive to finish second. The Mahindra driver had sliced his way up through the field, with a close overtake on Oliver Turvey putting him seventh just before the pit stop window. Aided by a swift stop whilst a number of other drivers ran into problems, the Mahindra was third after the midrace car swap.
Evans, who lost five seconds in the pits, tried to challenge for the position, but had to turn to defence as Alex Lynn closed in. It allowed Rosenqvist to pull away, moving to second after Mortara’s spin.
Evans held onto fourth, while Lynn dropped backwards in the final laps, eventually finishing 10th.
Having battled for the lead in the opening race, Jean-Eric Vergne and Sam Bird found one another on track again. Bird, having been given a 10 place grid penalty, picked his way up through the field and was running seventh after the midrace car swap. He stayed on Vergne’s tail, trying to pressure the Techeetah driver into a mistake as he did in race one, but Vergne held firm. The pair finished fifth and sixth, ahead of Turvey and Maro Engel.
Season three’s championship rivals Lucas di Grassi and Sebastien Buemi were nowhere to be seen for most of the race.
Di Grassi, having started 12th, was challenging Nico Prost for the final points paying position early on. A clean move up the inside at the hairpin put him inside the top 10 and, with more energy than most of the field, he tried to stay out an extra lap. But the Audi stopped on track in that extra lap. Though he managed to get going again, it dropped di Grassi to the back of the field and he eventually finished 15th.
Having hit the wall in qualifying and started last, Buemi didn’t cut his way up through the field as expected. The Renault pitted a lap early and had to manage his energy in the second stint. He managed to make his way up to 11th, behind team-mate Prost, but couldn’t find a way past. He finished outside the points for the second consecutive race.
Prost finished ninth, with Lynn rounding out the top 10.
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