Audi has finally won its first Formula E race of 2019. For the third time in as many years, the brand has taken the checkered flag at the Mexico e-Prix.
The race was anything but a runaway for the brand, though, whose Lucas di Grassi started in second place after a strong quali session.
After being cut off by the pole sitter, Mahindra’s Pascal Wehrlein, di Grassi was on the back foot early. A big crash on the first lap drew the red flag, disrupting the race, and, apparently, messing with teams’ strategies.
By the time the race came to its closing laps, though, it became clear that Wehrlein would struggle to finish the race.
With his competition running low on battery power, di Grassi pushed hard, trying to force Wehrlein to use as much juice as possible.
When the final lap finally came about Wehrlein had no choice but to block di Grassi, a strategy that worked until the final corner, when di Grassi finally squeezed through and crossed the finish line in a full on power slide.
“That was probably the best race of my Formula E career,” said di Grassi. “Initially, it was all about staying cool and saving energy. At the end, it was about getting the overtaking maneuvers right, because it’s extremely difficult to pass on this track in Mexico City.”
Although he was just pipped at the last corner, Wehrlein eventually finished the race in sixth place after being assessed a five-second penalty for running out of energy on track.
After the race, that while he accepted losing to di Grassi on track, “what I’m not happy about is the penalty.” He then added that “going from second place to P6 is not what we deserved.”
Meanwhile, Daniel Abt, di Grassi’s teammate, had a quieter race and picked up the last point of the race by finishing in 10th place.
With that, di Grassi moves up into fourth place with 34 points. He remains 19 points behind first-place Jerome d’Ambrosio, who races for Mahindra. Daniel Abt is in 11th place with 22 points.
Audi’s points haul this weekend, unfortunately, didn’t improve its position in the standings. With 56 points, the team remains in fifth place, one point back of DS Techeetah and 26 points back of first place Mahindra racing.
Audi will have another chance to improve its position in a little less than a months time, when Formula E runs its next race on March 10 in Hong Kong.