Formula E: Vergne Victorious in Inaugural Santiago ePrix

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Source: Auto Plus

Jean-Eric Vergne has won the first ever Santiago ePrix ahead of his Techeetah team-mate André Lotterer, making the Chinese team the first ever in Formula E history to achieve a 1-2 finish.

In the first part of qualifying, Lotterer went quickest with a 1:18.796, and was more than a quarter of a second quicker than defending champion Lucas Di Grassi (Audi), with the latter competing under a ten-place grid penalty due to a changed inverter.

However, fortunes were to change for the German as Lotterer lost control of his car at the beginning of his Super Pole lap, but continued with a damaged front wing to qualify 3rd.

DS Virgin’s Sam Bird also crashed in the Super Pole session as the Briton spun under braking and slammed into the barrier.

This allowed the other Techeetah of Vergne to claim the all-important pole position with a 1:19.161, almost two tenths of a second ahead of Sébastien Buemi (Renault e.Dams)

In a dramatic opening lap, Vergne led from pole position, with Nelson Piquet Jr. (Jaguar) moving into second ahead of Lotterer and Buemi.

Behind them, three separate incidents resulted in the appearance of the safety car, the first of which saw José María López (Dragon) crash into the wall.

As the cars tried to filter their way through the narrow corners and avoid López’s car, Mahindra’s Nick Heidfeld collided with another car which caused damage to his front suspension.

Maro Engel (Venturi) also retired after he was nudged into the barriers from behind towards the end of the lap.  

The race restarted on Lap 5, and saw Piquet Jr. attempted to pass Vergne for the lead into Turn 3, but the Frenchman managed to hold his line and maintain the position.  

As Vergne began to pull away, Piquet struggled to keep Lotterer behind and eventually conceded second place on Lap 19 before the pit stops, leaving the Techeetah team on course for a historic 1-2 finish.

Having started from 13th on the grid, Di Grassi was making his way up the field and was in the top ten when his car suffered yet another electrical issue.

Subsequently, the Brazilian was forced to retire and remains pointless in the drivers’ championship.

Back at the front, Bird has dropped to seventh behind Rosenqvist and team-mate Alex Lynn after his strategy of staying out for an extra lap proved to be costly.

At this point, Vergne still led Lotterer, but were allowing a train of cars commanded by Buemi to catch up to them due to a communication issue on the Techeetah pit wall regarding their battery levels.  

The team then got a brief scare when under braking for Turn 2, Lotterer bumped into Vergne, causing both cars to lock up heavily.

Miraculously, the pair of them avoided hitting the wall and went to record a significant result for the team.

Buemi completed the podium, with Felix Rosenqvist (Mahindra) in fourth and Bird claiming an extra for the fastest lap in fifth.

Piquet Jr’s mistake at Turn 2 late on saw him drop to sixth, ahead of Jaguar team-mate Mitch Evans who did well to recover from the back of the grid and finish seventh.

Andretti’s drivers Tom Blomqvist and Antonio Felix da Costa both scored points, with Nico Prost (Renault e.Dams) between them ninth place.  

As a result of yesterday’s action, Vergne now leads the drivers’ championship, ahead of Rosenqvist and Bird, whilst Techeetah jumps ahead of Mahindra and DS Virgin to lead the constructors’ championship.

2018 FIA Formula E Santiago ePrix Official Classification:

Pos. Car No. Driver (Nationality), Team Start Position Time/Reason for Retirement
1 25 Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), Techeetah 1st 1:01:24.514
2 18 André Lotterer (DEU), Techeetah 3rd +1.154
3 8 Sébastien Buemi (SUI), Renault e.Dams 2nd +1.959
4 19 Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), Mahindra Racing 14th +2.793
5 2 Sam Bird (GBR), DS Virgin Racing 4th +4.490
6 3 Nelson Piquet Jr. (BRA), Panasonic Jaguar Racing 5th +6.364
7 20 Mitch Evans (NZL), Panasonic Jaguar Racing 20th +7.099
8 7 Jerome D’Ambrosio (BEL), Dragon Racing 12th +13.308
9 28 Antonio Felix da Costa (POR), MS&AD Andretti Formula E 16th +14.811
10 9 Nico Prost (FRA), Renault e.Dams 8th +21.092
11 27 Tom Blomqvist (GBR), MS&AD Andretti Formula E 18th +32.924
12 68 Luca Filippi (ITA), NIO Formula E Team 19th +44.127
13 4 Edoardo Mortara (SUI), Venturi Formula E Team 17th +49.398
14 16 Olivier Turvey (GBR), NIO Formula E Team 7th +1:12.282
Not Classified
26 Alex Lynn (GBR), DS Virgin Racing 6th Retired
23 Nick Heidfeld (DEU), Mahindra Racing 15th Retired
1 Lucas Di Grassi (BRA), Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 13th Electrical Issue
66 Daniel Abt (DEU), Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 10th Electrical Issue
5 Maro Engel (DEU), Venturi Formula E Team 11th Collision with another car
6 José María López (ARG), Dragon Racing 9th Crashed

 

ABB FIA Formula E Championship, Drivers’ Standings after Four Rounds:

Pos. Car No. Driver (Nationality), Team Points
1 25 Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), Techeetah 71
2 19 Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), Mahindra Racing 66
3 2 Sam Bird (GBR), DS Virgin Racing 61
4 8 Sébastien Buemi (SUI), Renault e.Dams 37
5 3 Nelson Piquet Jr. (BRA), Panasonic Jaguar Racing 33
6 4 Edoardo Mortara (SUI), Venturi Formula E Team 24
7 20 Mitch Evans (NZL), Panasonic Jaguar Racing 21
8 23 Nick Heidfeld (DEU), Mahindra Racing 21
9 18 André Lotterer (DEU), Techeetah 18
10 66 Daniel Abt (DEU), Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler 12
11 28 Antonio Felix da Costa (POR), MS&AD Andretti Formula E 10
12 16 Olivier Turvey (GBR), NIO Formula E Team 8
13 6 José María López (ARG), Dragon Racing 8
14 26 Alex Lynn (GBR), DS Virgin Racing 8
15 9 Nico Prost (FRA), Renault e.Dams 7
16 5 Maro Engel (DEU), Venturi Formula E Team 6
17 27 Tom Blomqvist (GBR), MS&AD Andretti Formula E 4
18 7 Jerome D’Ambrosio (BEL), Dragon Racing 4
19 68 Luca Filippi (ITA), NIO Formula E Team 1
20 1 Lucas Di Grassi (BRA), Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 0
21 27 Kamui Kobayashi (JPN), MS&AD Andretti Formula E 0
22 6 Neel Jani (SUI), Dragon Racing 0

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