Pascal Wehrlein was finally able to put his disappointments from previous visits to Mexico behind him as he led the Tag Heuer Porsche FE Team to their first victory in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship on Saturday.
The German led home team-mate André Lotterer at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez as Porsche flexed their muscles and showed just what they are capable of, with the leading duo’s speed forcing the race to go on for one extra lap than many of those behind them were expecting.
The early laps saw Porsche conserving energy and dropping back as ROKiT Venturi Racing’s Edoardo Mortara took over the lead, while Lotterer dropped behind both DS Techeetah drivers in quick order. Firstly Jean-Éric Vergne found a way through before team-mate António Félix da Costa forced his way ahead as well.
Vergne also made his way ahead of Wehrlein to run second before the Porsche’s began to show their true pace, with Lotterer repassing Félix da Costa and Wehrlein recapturing second from Vergne.
Wehrlein had more usable energy than Mortara out front and was able to make that count as he swept through into the lead, while Lotterer also found his way up to second after passing both Vergne and Mortara in quick succession.
The Porsche’s then scampered off into the distance in closer order, with the battle for third place being the highlight thereafter as Vergne, Mortara and Envision Racing’s Robin Frijns all fought for the final spot on the podium.
Wehrlein crossed the line with one second remaining on the clock to force a lap that many inside the top ten were fearing, and it saw several drivers drop down the order on the final lap as they struggled with their allowable energy usage.
Vergne completed the podium after overcoming the challenge of Mortara, with the Swiss racer also dropping behind Félix da Costa as he was forced to save energy to ensure he saw the chequered flag.
Frijns’ battle for the podium ended when he was forced to back off to save energy himself, with the Dutchman ending down in seventh, just behind countryman Nyck de Vries of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team.
De Vries had looked on course to miss out on points altogether after dropping as far down as twelfth, but his energy usage was good, and he was able to profit from other’s misfortunes to claim sixth.
Those who did struggle over the final lap were both the Jaguar TCS Racing drivers, Mitch Evans and Sam Bird, and Mahindra Racing’s Oliver Rowland. All three had not expected the race to go that extra lap and all were forced into an extremely slow final lap that saw them fall out of the top ten.
Lucas di Grassi had finished eighth in the second Venturi but dropped down to twelfth once a five second time penalty for hitting Stoffel Vandoorne early in the race was applied, while promoted the two Nissan e.dams drivers up the order for their first points of the season.
Sébastien Buemi took eighth ahead of team-mate Maximilian Günther, while Jake Dennis salvaged a point for the Avalanche Andretti Formula E Team as he found himself in tenth when the final result was confirmed.
However, no one had an answer for the pace of the Porsche’s and in particular Wehrlein, and after losing victory on the line in the 2018 event after running out of usable energy approaching the chequered flag and being disqualified from last years race from first place when the event took place in Puebla, it was redemption day for the German.
Mexico City E-Prix Race Result
|1||99||Pascal Wehrlein||GER||TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team||47:20.404|
|2||36||André Lotterer||GER||TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team||+0.302|
|3||25||Jean-Éric Vergne||FRA||DS Techeetah||+9.051|
|4||13||António Félix da Costa||POR||DS Techeetah||+9.975|
|5||48||Edoardo Mortara||CHE||ROKIT Venturi Racing||+18.356|
|6||17||Nyck de Vries||NED||Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team||+19.020|
|7||4||Robin Frijns||NED||Envision Racing||+20.232|
|8||23||Sébastien Buemi||CHE||Nissan e.DAMS||+23.394|
|9||28||Maximilian Günther||GER||Nissan e.DAMS||+26.497|
|10||27||Jake Dennis||GBR||Avalanche Andretti FE Team||+26.829|
|11||5||Stoffel Vandoorne||BEL||Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team||+27.086|
|12||11||Lucas di Grassi||BRZ||ROKiT Venturi Racing||+27.525|
|13||37||Nick Cassidy||NZL||Envision Racing||+28.794|
|14||8||Oliver Turvey||GBR||NIO 333 FE Team||+32.978|
|15||10||Sam Bird||GBR||Jaguar TCS Racing||+35.677|
|16||30||Oliver Rowland||GBR||Mahindra Racing||+36.047|
|17||28||Oliver Askew||USA||Avalanche Andretti FE Team||+36.395|
|18||33||Dan Ticktum||GBR||NIO 333 FE Team||+44.607|
|19||9||Mitch Evans||NZL||Jaguar TCS Racing||+1:02.458|
|20||7||Sérgio Sette Câmara||BRZ||Dragon/Penske Autosport||+1:21.406|
|RET||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Dragon/Penske Autosport||Retired|
|RET||29||Alexander Sims||GBR||Mahindra Racing||Retired|