Jean-Eric Vergne has taken a hard-fought victory at the Santiago ePrix at Santiago de Chile. The Frenchman headed the first one-two in the four-year long history of the FIA Formula E, with Techeetah as the author. André Lotterer fought until the end for the win, while Sébastien Buemi managed to fend off a racey Felix Rosenqvist and took his second podium finish of the year.
Techeetah rewrote history books today at Santiago. The Chinese team completed a feat that no other squad had ever achieved in the short history of Formula E, which is a one-two in a race. Even then, it was not a straight path to victory, as the two team mates fought throughought the race, hard enough to even dangerously contact a few laps to the end. Jean-Eric Vergne was able to keep his pole position and take his second win in the series, ahead of André Lotterer, who scored his first podium finish and first points.
The start was full of action, with José María López being the first victim as he ended against the wall due to the lack of space after the first corner. A few moments later, in the midst of the confusion, Maro Engel crashed head-on as he outbraked himself. The combination of the two crashes brought a long period of Safety Car.
Daniel Abt was also involved in the initial crashes, which ended his chances of getting any good result in a race which was terrible for Audi, seeing both of their drivers out of the race. Lucas di Grassi, who was completing a great come back from 13th place on the grid and was running sixth, had to stop the car after his pit stop and is now the only driver in the whole series without scoring any point so far.
The fight for the win was tense throughout the whole race. At the beginning, Nelson Piquet Jr. was putting pressure on Vergne, who was defending the lead with great authority. After losing second place to Lotterer, the Brazilian fell to fourth place as he lost yet another position to Buemi. A few laps later, while trying to fight back, the first Formula E champion braked too late and fell to sixth place, which he kept until the chequered flag.
The two Techeetah drivers kept the fight alive by themselves, dueling with growing intensity to such a degree that the historic result was put in jeopardy. Lotterer constantly tried to overtake the French ace and was even almost overtaken by Buemi. Despite this, Vergne was impeccable in his defense and that gave him a valuable win that puts him on the lead of the championship, five points clear off Felix Rosenqvist, who was fourth after a fantastic comeback.
Lotterer took his first points (twelve) in Formula E by virtue of his third place, while Buemi keeps climbing places in the standings towards fourth place after his second podium finish. Sam Bird rounded the top 5, followed by Piquet, Mitch evans, Jérôme d’Ambrosio, Antonio Felix da Costa and Nico Prost. Edoardo Mortara is falling down the standings after not scoring any single points. Bad luck took Alex Lynn as well, having to retire from the race towards the end due to mechanical issues on his DS Virgin machine.
The FIA Formula E championship will spring back to action on the 3rd of March at Mexico City, where a true Mexican party will take place at the legendary Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.