DS Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne won a chaotic FIA Formula E Championship’s Swiss EPrix from Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans and Nissan e.Dams’ Sebastien Buemi.
Vergne held the lead of the Formula E Swiss EPrix as the lights went off from Evans and Buemi as there was mayhem in the mid-pack with multiple incidents. Mahindra Racing’s Jerome D’Ambrosio hit Envision Virgin’s Robin Frijns from behind and spin him around.
Up ahead, GEOX Dragon’s Maximilian Gunther and the other Mahindra of Pascal Wehrlein made contact in the tight chicane. Wehrlein hit the wall and caused a huge traffic jam due to the narrow circuit. Unsurprisingly, the race was red-flagged.
The incident messed up the order as some drivers managed to avoid it and shortcut through the chicane and gain track positions. However, the Race Direction decided to restart the race lining up the cars as per the original Swiss EPrix starting order.
Both Wehrlein and Gunther managed to take the start after repairs. Frijns, on the other hand, was forced to retire which saw how his title chances practically gone. Meanwhile, the race started behind the safety car as Vergne led Evans and Buemi.
At the back, Venturi’s Edoardo Mortara crashed into BMW Andretti’s Alexander Sims as most of the positions stayed intact until a move from Envision Virgin’s Sam Bird on Gunther for fifth, which converted to fourth after Wehrlein’s retirement.
The German driver couldn’t bring the car back in the pits which needed a Full Course Ywllo as the the battle between Vergne and Evans turned fierce, with some great wheel-to-wheel moves and attempts to overtake from the latter – although unsuccessful.
Behind them, DS Techeetah’s Andre Lotterer used the attack mode to overtake Audi’s Daniel Abt and also Gunther to slot into fifth and chase Bird. After few laps of chasing, Bird made a mistake which allowed Lotterer to move to fourth and keep his title hopes allowed.
With only two minutes remaining, it started to rain heavily with the Top 4 drivers close to each other but the order remained the same as Vergne went on to score his third win of the Formula E season after beating Evans by only thousandths of a second in Swiss EPrix.
The podium was completed by Buemi as the Swiss driver scored his second consecutive Formula E podium at his home race. Behind him, Lotterer took fourth ahead of Bird as Gunther registered his best result in sixth.
It was Abt in seventh with Jaguar’s Alex Lynn in eighth, Venturi’s Felipe ninth and Audi’s Lucas di Grassi making up nine places to complete the Top 10. The Brazilian had to defend hard from HWA Racelab’s Stoffel Vandoorne and BMW Andretti’s Antonio Felix da Costa.
There was a mini battle for 13th with GEOX Dragon’s Jose Maria Lopez ahead of Sims, while D’Ambrosio ended up 15th after the Belgian was handed a drive-through penalty for hitting Frijns. NIO’s Tom Dillmann, Oliver Turvey and HWA Racelab’s Gary Paffett rounded out the 18 finishers.
DNF: Oliver Rowland, Wehrlein, Mortara and Frijns.
UPDATE: Post-race penalties saw a big one for Lotterer in his title hopes as he was handed a drive-through penalty which was converted into a 22 seconds time penalty for ignoring a red light in the pitlane, which dropped him to 13th in the final standings.
In addition, Lopez was disqualified for the Swiss EPrix all-together for exceeding maximum power usage of 200kw, while da Costa was handed a five seconds time penalty for speeding under FCY which dropped him to 14th.
Final results, Top 10: Vergne, Evans, Buemi, Bird, Gunther, Abt, Lynn, Massa, di Grassi, Vandoorne. Position 11-17: Sims, D’Ambrosio, Lotterer, da Costa, Dillmann, Turvey, Paffett. DNF: Rowland, Wehrlein, Mortara, Frijns. DSQ: Lopez.