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Evans wins inaugural Jakarta E-Prix

Mitch Evans holds off Jean-Eric Vergne to win the inaugural Jakarta E-Prix.

The top three were nose-to-tail in the closing laps, but Vergne couldn’t find a way past Evans before the chequered flag fell.

Having started on pole, Vergne led for most of the race. He briefly fell behind Evans when he took his second Attack Mode, but reclaimed the position with the extra power. Vergne had extended a small gap to the rest of the field before Evans activated his second Attack Mode, becoming the last driver in the race to use the extra power.

The Jaguar driver used the extra power to close in on Vergne, but ran out of Attack Mode just as he reached the race leader.

Vergne tried to defend against Evans but a move up the inside of turn seven allowed Evans to sweep through and take the race lead. He couldn’t shake Vergne and was struggling with his rear tyres in the final laps of the race. But as the two battled, Edoardo Mortara closed in on the back of the pair.

Mortara had also used an alternate Attack Mode strategy to the rest of the field, using his extra power later than most. The strategy had kept him ahead of Techeetah’s Antonio Felix Da Costa.

On the final lap, it came a case of energy management as much as racing, as all three drivers hit zero as they took the chequered flag. Mortara was closer to Vergne than Vergne was to Evans in the end. The top two were separated by just 0.733s, with Mortara a further 0.234s back.

Victory for Vergne would have secured him the championship lead. As it was, a fifth place finish for Stoffel Vandoorne was enough to keep the Mercedes driver top of the standinds. Vergne lies five points back in second, with Mortara and Evans close behind.

After falling behind Evans and Mortara early in the race, Da Costa came home to take fourth ahead of Vandoorne and Jake Dennis.

There was little drama in the race. The safety car was called out briefly early on, when Oliver Rowland had an incident that caused him to lose a wheel.

Much later in the race, Andre Lotterer and Nyck de Vries were battling in the bottom half of the top 10 when the pair made contact. De Vries suffered a left rear puncture and retired in the pits, whie Lotterer was handed a time penalty that took him outside the top 10.

Lucas Di Grassi, who had spent much of the first half of the race battling with de Vries, finished the race seventh ahead of Pascal Wehrlein and Sam Bird, who climbed up from 15th on the grid.

After a strong start to the race, Sebastien Buemi fell backwards as drivers began to take Attack Mode and finished P10.

Bethonie Waring

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