BMW Andretti’s Maximilian Gunther says clever use of the Attack Mode helped him to win FIA Formula E Championship’s Santiago ePrix after losing a position at the start.
Gunther started from the front-row in Formula E Santiago ePrix but lost to Mahindra Racing’s Pascal Wehrlein in the first few corners as Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans led the way. As the race panned out, the BMW Andretti driver got through Wehrlein first.
He then chased Evans, who had issues with software, and eventually got him on Lap 19. It was plain sailing then but DS Techeetah’s Antonio Felix da Costa fought through the field to get on the back of Gunther. The Portuguese took the lead on Lap 37.
But it was a close fight still between Gunther and da Costa. The German kept him in the frame and eventually re-took the lead on the final lap with few corners to go as the Portuguese had to coast, enabling the BMW Andretti driver to score his first win.
Post-race, Gunther credited the clever usage of Attack Mode which helped him stay in the fight and take the victory. “It is a dream come true,” said the German. “I am incredibly happy to take the first win of my Formula E career here in Santiago.
“Second place in quali was superb. Having not made a great start on the dirty side of the track, which cost me a position, we used Attack Mode very cleverly to allow me to take the lead. In the heat, it was also important to keep an eye on the temperature of the batteries.
“We did that really well. On the final lap, Antonio had to coast a little earlier than me on the straight. I thought to myself ‘now or never’ and went for the overtake. Fortunately, it came off.” Team Principal Roger Griffiths also hailed the work of Gunther.
“When he crossed the finish line, the celebrations in the garage were deafening,” he said. “To have won two races in a row and lead the Team competition feels damn good. I am delighted for Gunther. After the disappointment in Diriyah, where he was subsequently denied second place after the race, he has done it this time and claimed his first win.
“Together with his race engineer, he drove a very clever race. By using Attack Mode intelligently, he was first able to overtake Pascal Wehrlein and then pass Mitch Evans with a spectacular manoeuvre. Towards the end of the race, we saw that the two Techeetah cars were gaining rapidly.
“But we always knew that we were controlling the situation well and managing the temperature of the batteries better. We were proved right, as you could see with Antonio at the end.” At the same time, da Costa rued the strategic mistake from DS Techeetah.
They used a lot of energy in the middle of the race which meant he had to coast towards the end, which helped Gunther to pass him. “It’s great to have a first podium and to fight for a win with my new team already when we are only three races in,” said da Costa.
“We’ve still got some work to do because that should have been our win today but we’re still a new team and we’ve still got some things to get on top of. We made a mistake with the energy and I thought we were good to go.
“So, I overtook for the lead of the race but had to slow down pretty quickly after to manage the temperature. In the end, it’s better to finish second and get the points than not finishing the race at all.”
Here’s the race report from Santiago ePrix