The sixth round of the ABB FIA Formula E 2018/19 season sees it’s sixth different winner from a sixth different team crowned at the Sanya EPrix, but we were still left guessing until the end.
The Sanya EPrix got off to a good start for pole sitter Oliver Rowland in the Nissan e.dams who pulled away going into the first turn, whilst there were problems for Felipe Nasr who appeared not to get off the grid. This resulted in a full course yellow, however, the Geox Dragon restarted but retired in the pits at the end of the first lap.
Nasr wasn’t the only early retirement. Championship leader, Sam Bird, retired his Envision Virgin Racing on the first lap after contact with Stoffel Vandoorne in the HWA Racelab.
In the early stages of the race it was Sebastien Buemi, Nelson Piquet and Felipe Massa who were the first to activate their attack mode. However, it wasn’t plain sailing for Lucas Di Grassi who had two failed attempts to activate the extra power before doing so successfully on a third attempt.
It was in the second half of the race that we saw all of the action, with Jean-Eric Vergne making a late move in his DS Techeetah to take the lead from Rowland, quickly pulling away from the battle between the rest of the top six. This allowed him to activate the attack mode and just maintain the lead.
With the change of position at the front, it meant that the rest of the top six bunched up, with the DS Techeetah of Andre Lotterer making a move up the inside of Alexander Sims. This pushed the BMW i Andretti out further into the wall resulting in damage that left Sims stranded on the straight. The safety car was deployed and then a red flag was shown.
Under the safety car Nelson Piquet also hit the wall in his Panasonic Jaguar picking up damage that saw him retire to the pits straight away.
The Sanya EPrix was the third race in a row to see a red flag. After the restart, with just 12 minutes plus one lap left to run, race leader Jean-Eric Vergne, was put under investigation for not respecting the safety car procedure with a decision not made until after the drivers crossed the line.
At the restart all of the top five drivers activated their final attack modes, whilst sixth places Frijns had already used his which meant Di Grassi behind who had activated the extra power was looking for the opportunity to take the position, which he succeeded in doing with just a minute left of the extra power.
There was a later change of position with Lotterer taking fourth place from the Audi of Daniel Abt.
Heading into the final lap there was a big collision which took Robin Frijns of Envision Racing and Di Grassi out of the race and for the race to be completed under full-course yellows. The incident started when Buemi hit the rear of Frijns car heading into the hairpin, picking up the rear of Frijns car resulting in him barreling into Di Grassi.
As they crossed the line the news came in that there would be no penalty for Vergne, who was the sixth driver in the sixth different team to take the win in the 2018/19 season. Second place went to Rowland with Antonio Felix Da Costa taking the final podium spot.
Lotterer held onto fourth from Abt, whilst after starting from the pitlane Buemi finished in sixth place although is under investigation for both a collision with Edoardo Mortara and Frijns. Jerome d’Ambrosio was next ahead of Mahindra team mate Pascal Wehrlein. The Panasonic Jaguar of Mitch Evans continues his points haul with a ninth place finish with Hong Kong winner Mortara taking the final points place.
Once again the EPrix was messy and this means that the race has ended with a number of drivers under investigation. We will up date you with any news as soon as possible.
The next race is in three weeks time in Rome for the seventh round of the championship on 13th April.
UPDATE: Following the race there has been a number of drivers who have been given penalties.
Buemi was given a 10-second penalty, which drops him from sixth to eighth, for the collision with Frijns on the penultimate lap.
Mortara was awarded a drive-through penalty that was converted to a 16-second time penalty, dropping him to 13th.
Di Grassi, Buemi, Abt and Lotterer were all given fines, which did not affect the race result.
Following the changes the championship standings now mean that Da Costa leads with 62 points, d’Ambrosio comes in second with 61 points and Vergne and Bird tied on 54 points. In the team’s championship Envision Virgin Racing and Mahindra Racing are tied on 97 points, one point ahead of Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler.
Featured Image Credit: ABB FIA Formula E Twitter