In a dramatic last laps in Formula E Puebla E-Prix, Lucas di Grassi took his third victory in Mexico leading the one-two Audi after penalty for Wherlein and Porsche.
Pascal Wehrlein leaded the contest from the start, but his TAG Heuer Porsche has been disqualified for failing to declare their tyres, leaving di Grassi and Rast one and two, with ROKiT Venturi Racing’s Edo Mortara rounding out the podium.
The result ensured Envision Virgin Racing’s Robin Frijns retained top spot in the Drivers’ World Championship but reigning champion Antonio Felix da Costa moved within two points after a sixth-place finish while just four points separate the top five. Rast, meanwhile, leapt into fourth spot, just four points from Frijns. Everything can change, and quickly, in Formula E. As it happened.
A steely and determined Pascal Wehrlein flew from the line to take the hole shot into Turn 1, with Oliver Rowland dropping positions after a stunted jump from the line.
Maximilian Guenther shot off the mark, making a great jump from fifth position to dive up the inside of BMW i Andretti Motorsport team-mate Jake Dennis into the first turn, the pair exiting the corner in second and third respectively.
Nick Cassidy was only able to make it halfway around the lap, the Envison Virgin Racing driver colliding with the wall on the outside of Turn 8. The MINI Electric Pacesetter Safety Car was deployed whilst the broken Virgin car was carted off the circuit.
As the Safety Car peeled into the pits, Wehrlein immediately got the jump on the pack with Guenther pushing hard and locking up into Turn 1 whilst trying to stick to the rear diffuser of the leading Porsche.
With Attack Mode open, on lap four Wehrlein was the first of the leading group to make the jump into Formula E’s edition of the ‘Joker Lane’ with the German dropping back to third and behind the BMWs.
With that extra 35kW, Wehrlein immediately blasted past the BMW of Dennis to take second position on the start/finish straight.
Fighting his way through the field from ninth, Lucas di Grassi confidently passed Alexander Sims for sixth into Turn 1. After only a handful of corners the Mahindra Racing driver fell prey to another Audi with Rene Rast following his team-mate through.
Lap 7 saw Wehrlein retake the lead with Guenther taking his first Attack Mode of the race, the BMW driver rejoining in fifth but immediately taking advantage of his extra power to out brake Di Grassi into Turn 11.
There was drama between the top two in the championship on Lap 9, as Robin Frijns lunged into Turn 11 collecting Nyck de Vries. An ill-timed move that would get the championship leader a 10-second time penalty.
With under 25 minutes on the clock and 11 laps completed, Wehrlein took advantage of his comfortable three-second gap to take his second and final Attack Mode, maintaining his lead over Guenther.
The exit of the the Attack Mode activation zone proved troublesome, making it a difficult end to the day for both Jean-Eric Vergne and Sam Bird. The Frenchman was squeezed into the wall by Alexander Sims and then Bird was sandwiched between Alex Lynn and the wall on the outside of Turn 8 – two racing incidents and the latter saw the release of the Safety Car.
With the Safety Car back in on Lap 18, Wehrlein backed the field up but Guenther was able to stick with his compatriot as the Porsche driver made his jump.
Dennis moved past team-mate Guenther at the start of Lap 20. The German appearing to slow up the pack to gain some breathing room to allow his BMW squad-mate to take his second Attack Mode.
With the pack bunching up behind Guenther, the German took a defensive line into Turn 1, with Edoardo Mortara behind getting sideways on the brakes. The Swiss-Italian making a big save in the ROKiT Venturi Racing machine to make the corner.
The plan by BMW seemingly backfired as Mortara made the move on Guenther and sent it up the inside of the German into Turn 11, with Di Grassi also capitalising and forcing his way through, dropping Guenther back two positions in just one corner.
With just one minute left on the clock, Di Grassi took Mortara for second, another confident move into Turn 1 with the Audi looking planted in the hands of the Brazilian.
In a shock turn of events, just as Wehrlein took the chequered flag the German and Porsche were penalised for a technical infringement, immediately promoting di Grassi to the race victory.
The ecstatic Brazilian crossing the line and cheering down the radio as he took his third win in Mexico, leading Rast for an Audi one-two with Mortara rounding out the podium.
Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
Mexico feels like a second home to me, I love being here. This was a completely different track from the one in Mexico City but it is great that we managed to make this event happen here during a pandemic. My team worked relentlessly to come here and turn this season around. This track doesn’t make overtaking easy, you have to take every chance to overtake without losing energy. I feel sorry for Pascal, he did a fantastic race. It happened to me in Rome, so I know how it feels. From now on we need to keep doing our work and try to test the car as much as we can.
René Rast, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
We had the pace all along despite not having an ideal start to the season, but we are back. We need to keep our head down and continue to work hard to turn this season around. We deserved the 1-2 today. In Qualifying we didn’t look very competitive, but that changed during the race. Tomorrow we need to improve our performance in Qualifying and aim to score some points for the team.
Edoardo Mortara, RoKit Venturi Racing
I am extremely happy to be back on the podium today. During the break we studied all the data gathered from the first half of the season and learnt from our mistakes. The team is putting everything in place. In the championship we have to face big manufacturers, but we have a good engineering team and a good powertrain and we can be just as competitive.
|1||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||47:40.772||(25)|
|2||René Rast||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||+0.497s||(19)|
|3||Edoardo Mortara||ROKiT Venturi Racing||+2.774s||(15)|
|4||Alexander Sims||Mahindra Racing||+10.443s||(12)|
|5||Jake Dennis||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||+11.473s||(10)|
|6||António Félix da Costa||DS TECHEETAH||+11.624s||(8)|
|7||Stoffel Vandoorne||Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team||+12.022s||(6)|
|8||Mitch Evans||Jaguar Racing||+12.351s||(4)|
|9||Nyck de Vries||Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team||+12.936s||(2)|
|10||Alex Lynn||Mahindra Racing||+13.154s||(1)|
|11||Oliver Turvey||NIO 333 FE Team||+14.548s|
|12||Maximilian Günther||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||+15.257s|
|13||Tom Blomqvist||NIO 333 FE Team||+15.442s|
|14||Norman Nato||ROKiT Venturi Racing||+15.756s|
|15||Sérgio Sette Câmara||DRAGON / PENSKE AUTOSPORT||+16.971s|
|16||Robin Frijns||Envision Virgin Racing||+17.942s|
|17||Joel Eriksson||DRAGON / PESNKE AUTOSPORT||+18.285s|
|DNF||Sam Bird||Jaguar Racing|
|DNF||Jean-Éric Vergne||DS TECHEETAH|
|DNF||Nick Cassidy||Envision Virgin Racing|
|DSQ||Pascal Wehrlein||TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team|
|DSQ||André Lotterer||TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team|
|DSQ||Sébastien Buemi||Nissan e.dams|
|DSQ||Oliver Rowland||Nissan e.dams|
2020/21 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship
|Robin Frijns||Envision Virgin Racing||62|
|António Félix da Costa||DS TECHEETAH||60|
|Nyck de Vries||Mercedes-EQ||59|
|René Rast||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||58|
|Mitch Evans||Jaguar Racing||58|
|Sam Bird||Jaguar Racing||49|
|Edoardo Mortara||ROKiT Venturi Racing||47|
|Jean-Èric Vergne||DS TECHEETAH||46|
|Jake Dennis||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||43|
|Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||39|
|Alexander Sims||Mahidra Racing||36|
|Pascal Wehrlein||TAG Heuer Porsche||36|
|Oliver Rowland||Nissan e.dams||35|
|Nico Müller||DRAGON / PENSKE AUTOSPORT||30|
|Alex Lynn||Mahidnra Racing||24|
|Maximilian Günther||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||22|
|Nick Cassidy||Envision Virgin Racing||19|
|André Lotterer||TAG Heuer Porsche||18|
|Oliver Turvey||NIO 333 FE Team||13|
|Sérgio Sette Câmara||DRAGON / PESNKE AUTOSPORT||12|
|Sébastien Buemi||Nissan e.dams||11|
|Norman Nato||ROKiT Venturi Racing||11|
|Tom Blomqvist||NIO 333 FE Team||5|
|Joel Eriksson||DRAGON / PESNKE AUTOSPORT||0|
2020/21 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship
|Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team||113|
|Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||97|
|Envision Virgin Racing||81|
|BMW i Andretti Motorsport||65|
|ROKiT Venturi Racing||58|
|TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team||54|
|DRAGON / PENSKE AUTOSPORT||42|
|NIO 333 FE TEAM||18|
Source: Formula E