Lucas di Grassi (Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport) took an unexpected win at Mexico City’s Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez after a chaotic race. The Brazilian was joined on the podium by Jean-Eric Vergne (Techeetah) and Sam Bird (DS Virgin).
Round 4 of the 2016/2017 FIA Formula E Championship produced plenty of drama, beginning a penalty for qualifying winner Daniel Abt (Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport) for incorrect tyre pressures. The infringement handed pole position to birthday boy Oliver Turvey (NexTEV).
The Briton went on to dominate the race’s first quarter before he was forced to park up his car on the track to hand command to WTCC star Jose-Maria Lopez (DS Virgin).
The safety car was despatched to clear Turvey’s stricken machine and di Grassi, who had been lying last after pitting for a rear wing replacement on Lap 32, made his car swap with 28 laps remaining. The Brazilian re-joined on the same lap as his comrades who waited until the green light to perform their changes.
That left di Grassi at the front of the field, ahead of Jérôme D’Ambrosio (Faraday Future Dragon Racing) who was also running an offset strategy.
A second safety car period was needed to clear the car of Loïc Duval (Faraday Future Dragon Racing) and this led to a bunching up of positions. Lopez’s over eagerness resulted in a mistake at Turn 1 with 10 laps to go. He was later imitated by Buemi, and then by d’Ambrosio who lost out in his scrap with Vergne three laps from the flag.
Di Grassi’s race plan and energy management earned him his first victory of the season and put an end to the recent supremacy of Buemi (14th, fastest race lap) whose championship lead over the Brazilian is now down to just five points.
The top five was rounded out by Vergne, Bird, Nicolas Prost (e-dams Renault) and Mitch Evans (Jaguar). Esteban Gutierrez (Techeetah) was 10th on home turf.
The next round will visit the streets of Monaco on May 13.