february 9, 2018 –”
It just can’t get any better…I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” said a joyful Jean-Eric Vergne, just moments after stepping down from the podium. Still buzzing from his one-two win for Techeetah with teammate Andre Lotterer – both visibly ecstatic – the twosome made history in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship as they crossed the finish line one after the other on Santiago’s avenue Santa Maria.
“The brain is working overtime,” said Lotterer, still coming to terms with not just his first podium but also his first points since joining the all-electric series ahead of Season Four. “Some people say these cars are not that quick but believe me, when you’re driving in between these concrete walls, it feels just as quick as Le Mans, or anything I’ve ever driven,” he added. “You can’t make any mistakes here….I’m still finding out how to race. It’s a different game here in Formula E.”
Crossing the line behind the Techeetah cars was yep, you guessed it – another Renault. Driven by former champ and Renault e.dams driver Sebastien Buemi, the end result saw the French manufacturer take all three positions on the podium, despite the fact its customer team took the top two spots. “I’m still happy with the result. Third place is still a lot of points for us but, on the other hand, I’m a bit disappointed because a customer team was faster than us but congratulations to them for the historic one-two,” said Buemi. “We’re looking better. I wouldn’t say we’re looking strong but with Marrakesh and here, we’re looking better for Mexico,” he added.
Just missing out on the podium was Mahindra Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist, who battled his way up ten places from fourteenth to finish the race in fourth. While that may not have been good enough to take home any silverware, it’s a commendable effort from the Swede. With JEV’s win, Rosenqvist drops to second in the championship standings with 66 points – putting him five points behind the Frenchman.
For DS Virgin Racing, it was another disappointing day. “I feel like I didn’t have the best Qualifying session, even though I finished sixth. We had a gearbox issue, so I was forced to stop on track, which is a great shame,” said Alex Lynn who retired in the second half of the race. “Then again, the event has been amazing. The track’s been great – lots of character, really exciting and challenging. It was everything I thought Formula E was going to be when I first joined,” added Lynn. For teammate Sam Bird, a fourth place start turned into a fifth-place finish over the course of the race. Having collected points at every race this season, Bird now sits third in the standings – a full ten points behind Vergne at the top. Disastrous? Not quite, but Mexico will be an important race for Bird if he’s to keep sight of that all-important championship title.
Crossing the line one after the other (just not quite as successfully as Techeetah) was Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Nelson Piquet Jn. and teammate Mitch Evans, who finished sixth and seventh respectively. Asked to sum up the race in a sentence, Piquet Jn. replied, “positive because we have a car that’s very good but also frustrating because I think the drivers and the team itself can do a better job.” Satisfied – but perhaps not delighted – with his performance, Evans praised the Santiago street circuit. “I think for a Formula E track, it’s the best I’ve ever driven and I’m looking forward to coming back here,” he said.