Closed Circuit: Renault e.dams in Mexico City
Focus | ePrix
- Buemi finished out of the points but set the fastest lap
- Prost continued his point scoring streak
Mexico City proved to Renault e.dams that every cloud has its silver lining. Despite not achieving the results expected and not showing their usual strong pace, the French squad left Mexico with points in the bag and continued its lead in both championships.
After a poor qualifying session, the French team benefited after Daniel Abt, Maro Engel, and Stephane Sarrazin were penalised. This meant both Sebastien Buemi and Nico Prost started the race from P7 and P13, respectively.
The race itself was not Renault e.dams’ best one and a few mistakes costed them what could have been another outstanding performance. Reigning champion Buemi, who had landed in Mexican soil in the early hours of race day, had a spin in turn one that ended all his chances of being in the point scoring positions.
Prost was able to move up from the position he started to finish in P5, scoring important points for him as he continues third in the standings and also for the team, which remains first in the teams’ championship.
Team mate comparison: qualifying
- Sebastien Buemi
- Nico Prost
Team mate comparison: race
- Sebastien Buemi
- Nico Prost
“It’s a very disappointing weekend. We were quickest this morning during free practice. The timings were really good. For the qualifying group lottery, we were unlucky to be in Q1. The track was really dirty. That’s why we were only seventh on the grid. In the race we had some issues with the radio, which made it difficult to communicate with the drivers and to discuss their energy consumption. We could have pitted one lap later but because of the communication issues we had to stop. After the pit-stop, the two Andretti cars left their box three seconds before so Seb was stuck in traffic. To avoid an unsafe release, we then had to let three or four cars pass.
“Finally, Seb spun off when he used the FanBoost so was really unlucky for us this weekend. di Grassi rolled the dice and won, so congratulations to him but our luck will turn. We need to work more and more to understand what happened and do the best we can do for the remainder of the season. Prost did a great race because he started from P13 and was stuck in traffic at the beginning. He finished fifth and scored ten points for the drivers and teams’ championships, points that are crucial for us this weekend.”
Jean-Paul Driot, Senior Team Manager
After missing Friday’s shakedown and landing in Mexico City in the early hours of Saturday morning, Buemi was in the spotlight as everybody wondered whether the Swiss would be affected by a series of factors such as tiredness, jetlag, or altitude sickness.
Buemi proved otherwise, with impressive pace in the non-qualifying sessions; however, the dirty conditions of the track in qualifying did not allow him to keep his pace. He started the race from P7, benefited from the penalties given to Abt, Engel, and Sarrazin.
Few have been the times when Buemi has won leading from lights to flag, and as we have seen in previous races, one of the Swiss’ greatest strengths is overtaking. The Mexico City ePrix, however, was tough for the reigning champion and a spin in turn one made him drop down the order and preventing him from being able to score points, breaking his winning streak in the process.
Best time in FP1: 1:02.222s (P1)
Best time in FP2: 1:02.164s (P1)
Best time in qualifying: 1:03.402s (P8)
Best time in the race: 1:03.102s (Lap 40, fastest lap)
Pit stop time and difference to minimum pit stop time: 63.619s (+3.619s)
“The race could have been good for us. We all know it’s difficult to overtake here, especially with so many safety cars. When I tried to use the FanBoost, Rosenqvist locked up both of his front tyres and Lopez spun. I just tried to avoid the accident and by doing this, I also spun. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s more or less what happened today. It’s been a bad weekend for us. The objective was not to lose too many points here, so of course it’s a big disappointment.
“I was quickest in FP1 and FP2 and we showed good pace but I was at a big disadvantage to be in Q1 as I cleaned the track for everyone. It was especially bad here, due to how windy the conditions were. I also had to avoid an unsafe release after my pit-stop, so I had to let three or four cars pass me. But at some point, our luck will turn, so let’s see what happens in Monaco.”
With a poor qualifying result, the race seemed tougher for the Frenchman. However, his good pace positioned him in P5 at the end of the race, despite some mistakes made in between.
Prost was able to keep moving up places during the course of the race, and by the time the collision between Mahindra drivers Nick Heidfeld and Felix Rosenqvist took place, he was sixth. He seized his chance of moving up another place and went for it, seeing the chequered flag in fifth place.
He was investigated for a couple of infringements but no further action was taking, meaning the Frenchman was still able to collect 10 points and secure his third place in the championship.
Best time in FP1: 1:03.761s (P12)
Best time in FP2: 1:02.997s (P12)
Best time in qualifying: 1:03.589s (P14)
Best time in the race: 1:04.112s (Lap 34)
Pit stop time and difference to minimum pit stop time: 60.878s (+0.878s)
“I had a big fight on my hands today and it was a tough race. I’m under investigation; I understand why because there was some small contact made but I don’t think I’m responsible for it. I really tried to avoid it, I was on the curves but Nick didn’t leave me much space, so he really closed the door. Otherwise, it was a good race and I’m happy with the result so far. It’s a very tight track, there was a lot of contact in the race but that’s racing…it’s the same for everyone. The straights are not very long so it’s a bit tricky to overtake here. But the changes that have been made are good, so I really enjoyed racing on this circuit this year.
“At the end, even if we were quick in FP1, I started to struggle in FP2 and the car was not very good. During qualifying, the red flag didn’t help but even without it, I wouldn’t have done a massive result so…We have to understand why this weekend wasn’t that good for us. Now, I look forward to the next two races in Monaco and Paris.”
Andrea Perilli | e-racing.net
Images courtesy of FIA Formula E Media