It was Oliver Turvey who started from Pole Position for the 4th race of the season and it marked his best qualifying result since he started his FE career. He was originally supposed to start second but Daniel Abt receieved a penalty due to illegal tyre pressure. We also can’t fail to mention that race day happened to land on Turvey’s birthday. His team-mate, Piquet Jr., started further back in 19th for the NextEV team.
On the first lap, Maro Engel had a slight collison into the back of Di Grassi’s car, causing pieces of debris to fly off both cars. Di Grassi’s back wing was severely damaged and near falling off. He headed into the pits quickly and the team replaced the back wing of the ABT-Schaeffler car.
Further back, Da Costa tried to make a move on Sam Bird and then ran wide, having to rejoin the track and nearly colliding with another driver while doing so.
This was the first race for Esteban Gutierrez, who will complete the rest of the season with the Techeetah team. It just so happens to also be his home race. Gutierrez previously raced for Haas and Sauber in Formula 1, but was left without a seat this year after he chose to leave Haas and was replaced with Kevin Magnussen.
Prost was the next driver called into the pits for mechanical damage after recieving a black flag with an orange disc. He pitted and the Renault team quickly replaced the nose of his car.
The hope of a race win for Turvey was short lived when his car stopped on track on lap 14 due to a mechanical malfunction. The team told him to keep trying to restart the car but it was clear he wouldn’t be finishing the race. This moved Lopez up to first with Heidfeld and Vergne close behind.
The safety car came out until Turvey’s car was removed from the track. Once that was done with, it was back to racing and Lopez made a quick getaway, trying to secure some kind of a lead from Heidfeld.
Things changed in the running order after the cars made their one and only required pit stop to change cars. Di Grassi came out in 2nd but Prost, who was in 1st hadn’t pitted yet and once he did, Di Grassi moved up to first with D’ambrosio behind him, followed by early-on race leader, Lopez.
As they came out of the pits, they became aware of another stopped car on track, the Faraday Future Dragon Racing car of Loic Duval. It was race over for him. The safety car was back out on track while his car was moved.
Robin Frijns ended up being under investigation for being under the minimum pit-stop time, which is a full minute. He was running 9th at that point with 15 laps to go. He later got a drive through penalty as his punishment.
When the safety car went back in a lap later, Di Grassi quickly pulled away from the other drivers. Jean-Eric Vergne tried to get past Lopez but Lopez defended his position and managed to keep it out of the walls.
Da Costa began to slow down on lap 33 and he too, along with Turvey and Duval, had a mechanical malfunction that ended his race.
Lopez spun a few laps later while trying to pass D’ambrosio for second place and then Buemi, who was in 9th, spun right after him. Lopez moved down to 13th and Buemi down to 17th. Not the positions they’d hoped to be in with only 10 laps to go.
On lap 43, Nico Prost tagged Nick Heidfeld, sending the Mahindra driver into a quick spin across the track. His team-mate, Rosenqvist ended up running into Heidfelds car, causing even more damage. Mitch Evans, who was coming around at the same time, nearly got caught up in the whole accident but managed to escape without any damage.
Just as things looked like they’d end in confetti and a trophy for Jerome D’ambrosio, he ran out of power in the final laps and was unable to finish the race. Not the way the Belgian driver had wanted his day to end.
Di Grassi took home the win, followed by Jean-Eric Vergne in second and Sam Bird in third. Esteban Gutierrez finished his home race and first FE race in the points for Techeetah. Also a good end to the race for New Zealand native, Mitch Evans, who took home fourth for Panasonic Jaguar racing. Prost completed the top five for Renault e.Dams.
1. Lucas Di Grassi / ABT-Schaeffler Audi Sport / Brazil
2. Jean Eric Vergne / Techeetah / France
3. Sam Bird / DS Virgin Racing / Great Britain
4. Mitch Evans / Panasonic Jaguar Racing / New Zealand
5. Nicolas Prost / Renault e.Dams / France
6. Jose Maria Lopez / DS Virgin Racing / Argentina
7. Daniel Abt / ABT-Schaeffler Audi Sport / Germany
8. Adam Carroll / Panasonic Jaguar Racing / Great Britain
9. Nelson Piquet Jr. / NextEV NIO / Brazil
10. Esteban Gutierrez / Techeetah / Mexico
11. Robin Frijns / MS Amlin Andretti / Netherlands
12. Nick Heidfeld / Mahindra Racing Formula E Team / Germany
13. Sebastien Buemi / Renault e.Dams / Switzerland
14. Jerome D’ambrosio / Faraday Future Dragon Racing / Belgium
15. Stephane Sarrazin / Venturi Formula E Team / France
16. Felix Rosenqvist / Mahindra Racing Formula E Team / Sweden
RETIRED – Maro Engel / Venturi Formula E Team / Germany / Loss of Power
RETIRED – Antonio Felix Da Costa / MS Amlin Andretti / Portugal / Accident
RETIRED – Loic Duval / Faraday Future Dragon Racing / France / Mechanical
RETIRED – Oliver Turvey / NextEV NIO / Great Britain / Electrical Issue
Article Written By: Amy Hawk
Image Credit To: FIA Formula E Media