In an eventful Mexico E-Prix, Daniel Abt was able to keep his cool and won the race ahead of Oliver Turvey and Sebastien Buemi. Meanwhile, Mahindra Racing experienced a major setback due to technical issues, while Lucas di Grassi beat his gremlins and collected his first points this season.
Following an intense qualifying session earlier on, Mahindra Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist headed into the Mexico E-Prix from pole-position ahead of Oliver Turvey (NIO Formula E) and Sebastien Buemi (Renault e.dams). Both were able to benefit from Antonio Felix da Costa’s (MS&AD Andretti) earlier demotion to fourth as his car was underweight during the Super Pole shootout. Not all eyes were on the front guys though, as the back of the grid featured some prominent drivers: Due to penalties and unfortunate qualifying performances, Edoardo Mortara (Venturi Formula E), Sam Bird (DS Virgin Racing) and reigning champion Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler) found themselves on P18, P19 and P20 respectively.
When the lights went out, Rosenqvist led the field into the first corner, closely followed by Turvey and Buemi. Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s Daniel Abt was able to pass da Costa for P4 while fellow German Maro Engel (Venturi) unfortunately did not get off the line well and suddenly found himself at the back of the grid, battling with the likes of Bird and Tom Blomqvist (MS&AD Andretti). Even though the drivers experienced a few minor pile-ups during the first lap, all of them quickly settled into their race rhythm.
On lap three, Mitch Evans (Panasonic Jaguar Racing) overtook Andre Lotterer (TECHEETAH) for P8 while qualifying surprise da Costa lost a few positions just a few minutes later, dropping to P7 overall. Further in front, Abt was starting to put pressure on Buemi – but the German did not get a single moment to relax as he was feeling Vergne’s breath down his neck.
Rosenqvist’s day suddenly got a lot worse, as a sudden loss in power saw him stranding on track. While he could get his Mahindra Racing car to start once again, his chances of winning the race and regaining the lead in the championship were gone. Thus Turvey took the lead ahead of Buemi and Abt, who was eagerly trying to find a way past the Swiss in his Renault e.dams. Nevertheless, chances of overtaking the season two-champion in the first corner were disrupted on two occasions as Rosenqvist caused two more yellow flags when he had to restart his car in the run-off area between the first few corners. The German did find a way past Buemi eventually on lap 20, putting him into a promising second position while teammate di Grassi overtook Jerome d’Ambrosio (Dragon Racing) for P13.
Putting an end to his stop-start race approach, Rosenqvist decided to make the change to his second car and hoped his risky strategy would bring him back into the points later on. On lap 24, half of the grid followed his example while Abt was closing the gap to leader Turvey. The duo pitted just a lap later, with just Nelson Piquet JR (Panasonic Jaguar Racing) and di Grassi stayed out for an extra lap. Once these two were in their second car, Abt was leading the race ahead of Turvey – with an astonishing gap of nearly four seconds – and Vergne. The Frenchman lost his third place to Buemi on lap 28, as the Swiss used his FanBoost to overtake the TECHEETAH.
Mahindra Racing’s good-day-turned-bad got even worse as Nick Heidfeld was experiencing the same problems teammate Rosenqvist suffered from earlier. Both drivers eventually abandoned their races, making it the first race without points for the Indian team. Problems also appeared on the horizon for Lotterer as the stewards decided to take a closer look at his pit stops. When leaving his box, he accidentally injured one of his mechanics which the FIA came to understand as a unsafe release, handing him a drive through-penalty.
Di Grassi also started to suffer as a minor collision with Jose-Maria Lopez (Dragon Racing) cost him valuable time. The Brazilian got his race back on track though and overtook d’Ambrosio with the help of FanBoost. Nicolas Prost (Renault e.dams) was not as lucky as his race came to a quick end following contact with Bird and technical issues he was already complaining about during the morning sessions and qualifying.
In the end, Abt was able to transform his strong performance into a well-deserved victory ahead of Turvey, who scored his first ever Formula E podium, and Buemi. It was not the only reason for the Audi Sport ABT team to celebrate though: Di Grassi also finished the race and collected two points for P9 and the extra point for setting the fastest lap.
Following the Mexico E-Prix, Vergne is still leading the championship ahead of Rosenqvist and Bird, who were both not able to collect any points today.