Robin Frijns has taken his first ever Formula E victory and the lead of the championship after an incredible Paris E-Prix which was affected by a hailstorm, causing multiple crashes and changes in the order. Andre Lotterer moved up to second in the standings with a second place finish, while Daniel Abt came home third.
Due to the track still being wet on one side, the E-Prix began behind the safety car, ensuring all drivers had an equal chance as the race commenced.
As the safety car came in, Oliver Rowland began pulling away from Sebastien Buemi. Just one minute into the race, Rowland had already opened a gap of one second but within the next minute, Rowland had crashed the car into the barrier after locking up.
Buemi took the lead whilst Rowland communicated with his team, asking how to put the car into reverse to allow him to continue his race. Eventually, Rowland was able to engage reverse and re-join the pack. The incident cost him the maximum number of places as he lost his lead and ended up in P22.
In an effort to redeem himself, Rowland began to chase and in the 6th minute, managed to steal the fastest lap from Frijns.
Chasing Buemi for the lead, Frijns began to apply pressure to the leader. The battle continued as Frijns remained on Buemi’s tail. The Nissan e.dams driver activated his attack mode on the next lap, counter-balancing the attack mode on the attack mode on the Virgin.
Lotterer and Felipe Massa went wheel-to-wheel through turn 3, finishing with Lotterer’s Techeetah on top. Just second later, Frijns passed Buemi for the lead, with the Techeetah also passing. It became evident that Buemi could be experiencing an issue and just moments later, he pulled into the pitlane.
On-track action continued and Abt reports over radio that rain has started to fall. Within moments, the track becomes comparable to an ice-rink as driver adjust their driving to the new weather conditions.
Lotterer doesn’t let up and continues to chase down Frijns for the lead as the Dutch driver’s front wing issues begin to cause issues for his drive.
Almost 20 minutes into the race, a full course yellow falls across the track as hail begins to fall, limiting the drivers’ visibility. Gripped by the action, fans remained in their seats, unfazed by the weather.
Our FanBoost winners are announced and the green flag was waved. The race was once again underway and it was off with a bang. Tom Dillmann lost his back end and was forced to end his race, losing his claim to the fastest lap point.
The adverse weather conditions continued to play havoc with the race as FCY fell once again as Alex Sims’ race came to an end. Rowland made contact with Sims forcing the car to spin into the wall. Just seconds before this incident, Sam Bird’s poor luck continued as he also went into the wall on this turn but managed to remove himself and continue.
Once Sims’ car had been recovered, the race went underway once again. After a close call with Jean-Eric Vergne, Edoardo Mortara went into the wall, managing to reverse and continue.
Rowland’s race failed to improve as he found himself down an escape route, as did Massa. The weather showed no sign of improving; as the rain continued to fall, track conditions worsened.
Alex Lynn and Mortara collided after Mortara tried to pass the Jaguar on the inside. Lynn ended up in the wall with the rear of his car lifted upward by the nose of Mortara’s Venturi. As a result, the safety car was deployed slowing down the cars to 50km/h.
The safety car came in with just under 3 minutes remaining, all was still to play for.
Following the theme of the race, the action continued to the very last moment. Jerome d’Ambrosio hit the wall and was rear-ended by Jose Maria Lopez, leaving him unable to continue and triggering another FCY with just seconds let before the commencement of the final lap. With just a couple of corners remaining, the green flag is waved and Frijns cruised across the line with Lotterer and Abt behind him.
Lucas di Grassi took fourth place, while Maximilian Günther completed a strong race to take his first points with fifth place.
Formula E’s first ever wet race is certainly one to remember – not just for Frijns who took his premier win, but for all who watched and attended.