Mahindra Racing have hailed Nick Heidfeld for driving a ‘fantastic’ race after the German claimed the team’s third ever podium at the opening round of the 2016-17 Formula E championship.
Starting tenth, Heidfeld made a superb start to climb up to fifth ahead of his team-mate Felix Rosenqvist.
The German also benefitted from a strategy call from his team to pit under the safety car, which saw him jump up to third.
He then managed to hold off the Renault e.dams of Nico Prost for the rest of the race, and was even able to pull away from him in the final laps.
Team Principal of Mahindra, Dilbagh Gill, said “I am really pleased with the start of our Formula E season in Hong Kong because it reflected the pace that we have worked hard on over the summer with pre-season testing in the new M3Electro.
“While qualifying could have gone better for Mahindra Racing, Nick drove a fantastic race. He did a very aggressive start and immediately gained six positions before managing his car’s energy and adapting the strategy to move up the field.”
Heidfeld himself was surprised with the result, and in turn thanked the team for their strategy call, and for helping him to drive around an issue he was having with energy data.
“I’m very happy to be back on the podium in this Formula E season’s opening race – it’s something you don’t expect when you start 10th on the grid!,” Heidfeld said.
“I had a great getaway from the start and gained more positions in turn one by going around the outside.
“There was an issue with the energy and lap data, but good communication with the team enabled me to do everything manually. We also made a good call on pit strategy during the safety car and I was able to overtake during the car swap.
“After that I was third position, with Nico Prost catching quickly from behind, but toward the end of the race I was able to pull away which is really promising considering they are one of the strongest contenders.”
While his team-mate didn’t finish the race following a spin that damaged his first car, Rosenqvist was still able to come away from Hong Kong with points after netting the fastest lap.
Commenting after the race he said, “I had a good start, then in turn one there was a big pile up on the inside and I couldn’t really get out. It felt like I was really competitive during the race but at one point I risked too much.
“The M3Electro package is strong, and I had been driving well, so the only target in the end was to go for fastest lap. It was tough and I had a couple of attempts, but in the end I got it.
“It looks really promising for the rest of the season, the car feels really good and I think the team has done an amazing job.”