Dragon Racing – 8.5/10
Excellent efficiency and a double points finish
Dragon Racing had a successful start to the second Formula E season, as they look to defend the second place finish they took in the teams’ championship last campaign – or even go one better. The signs after the first weekend are strong – the American team, using the Venturi powertrain this season, bounced back from an average qualifying to take a strong haul of 18 points in Beijing, and were the only team to have both cars in the top ten. What’s more, they managed to get both cars ahead of Stephane Sarrazin, in the works Venturi car, by the end of the race – despite both qualifying behind the Frenchman. Dragon’s success in the race was partly down to the efficiency of their powertrain, as both cars managed to go a lap longer than most of their competitors, giving them more usable energy in the second half of the race.
Loïc Duval (qualified 8th, finished 4th) – 8/10
Agonisingly close to a podium
Dragon Racing’s Duval started his first full Formula E campaign in Beijing, having only joined last season’s championship from the round in Miami onwards. The experienced Frenchman put his newly-liveried dark red car 8th on the grid in qualifying, missing out on the Super Pole by three tenths of a second. On the first lap of the race, he passed fellow Frenchman Stephane Sarrazin in one of the works Venturi entries to run 7th. He was passed by Sam Bird a few laps later, but got back ahead soon after when the Brit had a big lock-up. Duval then passed both Bruno Senna and Jean-Eric Vergne to run 5th. Rather than stopping on lap 13 like most competitors, Duval was able to stop on the next lap, despite all that overtaking. He re-joined the race back in 5th from where he would take the fight to Nick Heidfeld. He inherited 4th when Nicolas Prost was forced to retire, but was unable to pass a dogged Heidfeld for the last podium slot.
Jérôme d’Ambrosio (qualified 10th, finished 5th) – 7.5/10
Fifth place finish but unable to solve riddle of team-mate Duval
One of the most impressive drivers in the back end of season 1, in which he took a win and two further podiums in the last four races of the campaign, d’Ambrosio started off well in Beijing with a fifth place finish from tenth on the grid. Out-qualified by team-mate Duval, Belgium’s d’Ambrosio leapfrogged Sam Bird into 9th off the start, but was re-passed one lap later. Like Duval, he was able to get back past when Bird locked up and went too deep at a corner. Just ahead of the stops, Bird would get ahead once more, with d’Ambrosio running 10th when the majority of the field stopped. Both Dragon cars stayed out an extra lap before stopping, which benefitted d’Ambrosio massively – he came out the pits right behind Duval, gaining four places helped by the timing of a Full Course Yellow. The rest of the race would see him pressuring Duval, nearly colliding with his team-mate at one point, before settling for 5th at the end.