2017 Mexico ePrix

Practice and qualifying

Two practice sessions—both on Saturday morning—were held before the Saturday late afternoon race. The first session ran for 45 minutes; the second lasted 30 minutes.The 30-minute shakedown session took place on Friday afternoon and saw Bird record the fastest lap of one minute and 8.737 seconds with Evans second and Oliver Turvey third. Vergne and teammate Gutiérrez were handed suspended three-place grid penalties after exceeding their electrical power allowances under full course yellow conditions in the shakedown session. Both practice sessions took place in warm and dry weather conditions. After arriving in Mexico City on early Saturday morning, Buemi (despite being delayed by Gutiérrez) used the full 200 kilowatts (270 hp) available to him and was quickest in the first practice session with a time of one minute and 2.222 seconds, half a second faster than Loïc Duval in second and his teammate Jérôme d’Ambrosio was third. Vergne was fourth-fastest, ahead of Robin Frijns and Bird. Sarrazin, di Grassi, Daniel Abt and Evans rounded out the session’s top ten drivers.The first practice session was held on a dusty track, which saw Felix Rosenqvist, Frijns, López and Nelson Piquet Jr. all spin and Maro Engel temporarily stopped his car on track with a battery management problem, necessitating a brief showing of the full course yellow flag.Frijns was investigated for performing a dangerous manoeuvre but no further action was taken.

In the second practice session, Buemi was the fastest driver with a lap time of one minute and 2.164 seconds; di Grassi and Vergne were one-tenth of a second behind in second and third. Heidfeld placed fourth; Abt was fifth-fastest and Piquet sixth. Engel was seventh-fastest, António Félix da Costa eighth, Turvey ninth and Duval completed the top ten ahead of qualifying. During the session, where teams assessed their car’s thermal management in preparation for the race, Bird and Piquet locked their tyres and went off into the turn one run-off area,while Abt stopped on the start/finish straight but was able to restart his car and Duval and Frijns spun within moments of each other. López lost control of his car at the final chicane, and later heavily damaged his vehicle’s front-right corner in the session’s closing minutes when he steered too early for turn 14 and collided with the barrier The fastest 13 drivers were covered by under one second, indicating there would be a tightly-contested battle in the midfield.

Oliver Turvey had the first pole position of his career after Daniel Abt was penalised for a tyre pressure infringement.

Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session ran for 60 minutes and was divided into four groups of five cars. Each group was determined by a lottery system and was permitted six minutes of on-track activity. All drivers were limited to two timed laps with one at maximum power. The fastest five overall competitors in the four groups participated in a “Super Pole” session with one driver on the track at any time going out in reverse order. Each of the five drivers was limited to one timed lap; the starting order was determined by the participants’ fastest times. The driver and team who recorded the fastest time were awarded three points towards their respective championships. The session was held in dry and warm weather conditions. Drivers complained of a lack of grip early in qualifying but as cars circulated the track which cleaned it lap times became faster.

In the first group of five runners, Heidfeld paced the session, almost one-tenth of a second faster than Bird in second, who in turn, was a further three-tenths of a second in front of third-placed Buemi who went wide at the first corner on his first timed lap despite being in clean air. Evans and di Grassi (who made a mistake in turn 17) were the group’s slowest two drivers. Turvey was the fastest driver in the second group and set the quickest overall group stage time of any participant at one minute and 2.712 seconds which was 0.053 seconds faster than Abt. López, Félix da Costa and Sarrazin rounded out the top five. In the third group, after the previous four drivers went onto the track, Duval was on his maximum power lap when he spun heading into the first corner and made contact with the barriers lining the circuit, causing the session to be stopped to allow his car to be extracted from the track. After the session restarted with three minutes remaining, Vergne was the third group’s fastest driver, followed by Prost who lost half a second in the track’s second sector, with Frijns, Piquet and Duval filling the next three positions.

Engel was the quickest driver in the fourth (and final) group, and finished ahead of d’Ambrosio and Rosenqvist who struggled for decent pace. Gutiérrez and Adam Carroll were the fourth group’s slowest two drivers, and at the group qualifying’s conclusion, the lap times set by Abt, Engel, López, Turvey and Vergne were fast enough to enable them progression into the super pole round.Ve rgne was the first competitor to attempt to record a lap time in the super pole round and was unable to achieve a rhythm and took fifth. Engel was slower in the track’s first sector,but went faster in the second part of the track by two-tenths of a second to clinch third. López went quicker in the circuit’s first two sectors but was unable to go faster in the final sector and was restricted to qualifying fourth. Abt was two-tenths of a second quicker than the previous three drivers in the first sector and despite losing a small amount of time in the second sector took provisional pole position with a time of one minute and 2.711 seconds. Turvey lost time while completing his lap and qualified in second. The result would have meant Abt securing his first pole position of the season, the second of his career, and his first since the 2015 Long Beach ePrix, but his car’s tyre pressure was found to have been below the mandated minimum pressure of 1.60-bar (160 kPa) and was demoted to 18th.Further grid penalties were applied when Engel was demoted ten places when he changed his gearbox following two failures in Buenos Aires and his teammate Sarrazin did the same.] The application of Abt’s penalty meant Turvey secured the first pole position of his career.[22]

Race

José María López , who moved into the lead, after Turvey retired, and held the first position for 13 laps.

A special feature of Formula E is the “Fan Boost” feature, an additional 100 kilowatts (130 hp) of power to use in the driver’s second car. The three drivers, who were allowed to use the boost, were determined by a fan vote. For the Mexico City race, Abt, di Grassi and Buemi were handed the extra power and the results of the vote were announced on the sixth lap. Weather conditions at the start of the race were dry and sunny with the air temperature between 26.9–27.5 °C (80.4–81.5 °F) and the track temperature ranged from 22.8–23.3 °C (73.0–73.9 °F); conditions were expected to remain consistent and no rain was forecast. 36,000 people attended the event.The race started at 16:00 Central Daylight Time. When the race started, Turvey made a clean start to maintain his pole position advantage heading into the first corner with López close behind in second place. Vergne attempted to overtake López around the inside but Heidfeld turned right onto the outside line and took third position from the distracted Techeetah driver A concertina effect occurred between turns three and five, when Engel collided with the back-end of di Grassi’s car, damaging the Audi Sport ABT driver’s rear wing, and di Grassi was required to make a pit stop for a replacement rear wing.

Duval and Abt made the best starts in the field, gaining two positions by the end of the first lap while Piquet lost three positions over the same distance. At the end of the first lap, Turvey led from López, who in turn, was followed by Heidfeld, Vergne, Bird, Félix da Costa, Rosenqvist, Buemi, Carroll, Evans, Gutiérrez, Engel, Prost, di Grassi, Frijns, Abt, d’Ambrosio, Duval, Piquet and Sarrazin. The safety car was deployed by the stewards on the second lap to allow marshals to clear debris in the chicane. Prost made a pit stop for a replacement nose cone while Sarrazin elected to switch into his second car. Di Grassi rejoined the race on the same lap as the leading drivers but was running at the back of the field. Turvey led the field back up to speed at the lap-five restart, closely followed by López. Buemi immediately attacked Rosenqvist and passed him for sixth place and started to draw closer to Bird. López began to pressure Turvey for the lead with Heidfeld and Vergne closely in arrears. Jaguar teammates Evans and Carroll began battling for eighth while Gutiérrez lost tenth to both Andretti cars of Félix da Costa and Frijns and Abt gained further positions to run in 12th.At the turn 13 entry, Turvey had power issues with his car, and slowed on the start/finish straight, before stopping at the turn one exit, handing the lead to López.[

Turvey’s team asked him to reset his car with a yellow flag shown to warn drivers about his stranded car but after three laps, he was unable to restart his vehicle and retired, causing the safety car to be sent onto the track for the second time. With the field closed up, di Grassi and d’Ambrosio opted to make the mandatory switch into their second cars on the 18th lap, and although the change would allow the duo to gain positions when the other drivers made their stops, it would require di Grassi and d’Ambrosio to conserve electrical energy towards the race’s end. The race restarted when the safety car drove into the pit lane on the following lap with López remaining in first place, followed by Heidfeld, Vergne, Bird and Buemi in the next four positions.López built a small lead over the rest of the field and attention switched to Heidfeld who came under pressure from Vergne, Bird, Buemi and Rosenqvist. Although he had enough electrical energy to do another lap, Vergne became the first of the leaders to make a pit stop for the change into his second car at the end of lap 24 in an effort to drive in clean air and undercut the field.

The rest of the field followed in response one lap later and swift work from López’s team allowed him to narrowly remain ahead of Vergne who moved in front of Heidfeld. The Mahindra driver lost seven positions while Buemi moved from fifth to tenth both as a result of slow pit stops. Prost led the field for one lap before making his stop on lap 26.Di Grassi took over the lead with d’Ambrosio second and both drivers were a half a lap ahead of the battling drivers who had more available electrical energy. Félix da Costa and teammate Frijns joined the leading group of drivers after being under the minimum pit stop time by three seconds. The safety was deployed for the third (and final) time when Duval stopped on track after leaving the chicane with a battery issue, prematurely ending his race, allowing the field to close up to di Grassi and d’Ambrosio. The safety car drove into the pit lane on lap 30 and di Grassi held the lead at the restart. Vergne immediately pushed hard and attempted to pass López for third but the two drivers made contact in the turn three chicane. He attempted the same manoeuvre one lap later but López cut the chicane to avoid hitting Vergne and the Techeetah driver demanded on his radio that López cede the position. Both Andretti cars were placed under investigation because of their pit stop times being faster the minimum permitted time.

Lucas di Grassi  made an early pit stop into his second car and conserved electrical energy to win the race.

López drew near to d’Ambrosio and Vergne remained close behind the Virgin driver, while the battle allowed di Grassi to pull away from the rest of the field.Félix da Costa slowed and stopped his car on the 33rd lap with a broken driveshaft, causing him to retire, and his teammate Frijns was issued with a drive-through penalty for being below the minimum pit stop time. Two laps later, López pushed hard and moved to the outside line in an attempt to pass d’Ambrosio but spun under braking for the first corner, sliding off into the turn’s run-off area. Buemi activated his Fan Boost system and attempted to overtake Rosenqvist (who locked his front tyres) but spun under braking for turn one,and narrowly avoided striking López’s stranded car in the run-off area. Both drivers fell down the field. The electrical power in Engel’s car slowly depleted after exiting turns five and six, ending his race. Buemi recorded the race’s fastest lap on lap 40, completing a circuit at one minute and 3.102 seconds, earning him one championship point. D’Ambrosio continued to hold back Vergne and the remaining seven cars behind him had more electrical energy available.D’Ambrosio locked his tyres under braking for the first corner, allowing Vergne to pass him for second place, and the French driver began drawing closer to di Grassi.

Prost attacked Heidfeld but collided with the rear-end of his car at turn eight, send him spinning into the path of his teammate Rosenqvist, who was unable to swerve to avoid him, and ploughed into his vehicle. It came after Rosenqvist was sent airborne following contact with Evans’s rear wheel. Despite damage to his vehicle’s back-end, Evans told his team over the radio that he could continue, but Rosenqvist was forced to retire.Prost however was delayed long enough to allow Evans to move ahead of him for fifth place. Heidfeld was unhurt and was able to rejoin the race. On lap 44, D’Ambrosio lost third position to Bird who passed him around the outside at turn three.D’Ambrosio ran out of electrical energy, allowing Gutiérrez into tenth. Di Grassi conserved his electrical energy usage and crossed the start/finish line after 45 laps to win the race.Vergne finished second, 1.966 seconds behind with Bird in third, Evans fourth and Prost fifth. López recovered from his lap 35 spin to secure sixth place, and Abt took seventh, Carroll, Piquet and Gutiérrez completed the top-ten points-scoring positions. Frijns, Heidfeld, Buemi and d’Ambrosio filled the next four positions with Sarrazin and Rosenqvist the last of the classified finishers.It was di Grassi’s first victory of the season and the fifth of his career. Di Grassi’s win ended e.Dams-Renault’s streak of six consecutive victories, extending back to the 2016 Berlin ePrix.There were three lead changes during the race; four drivers reached the front of the field. Di Grassi led once for a total of 19 laps, more than any other competitor.

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