After 33 laps of racing, Jean Eric Vergne emerged victorious in a race that was crammed with drama, crashes, and a cardinal sin!
Pole sitter Mitch Evans got his Jaguar off the line cleanly and evaded the threat of a divebomb by Buemi down the hairpin quite neatly. However, a strategy error in the name of choosing to go for the attack mode early on put him behind Vergne and Buemi, with the latter going for a spectacular dive-bomb to seal the lead at that point.
Further back, there was an incident with Mortara. He got off the line and into the dust, hitting the rear of the car ahead during lap 3, and breaking his front wing. That incident pretty much ruined his race.
The Cardinal Sin
Lap 13 was when the carnage started to ensue. For viewers of the race live, a screech and a thud signalled something was up. The biggest sin in motorsport was committed by Sam Bird, who tried to dive-bomb Fenestraz in the Nissan, and instead took himself, Fenestraz, and his teammate Evans out.
The steering damage ruled out Bird immediately, and Evans’ car slowly decayed until he retired due to damage. This was a pretty big blow for Jaguar TCS and their fans here in India, as the Mahindras at this point were further back in the field.
The Jaguar incident shook up the top quite a bit. A couple of laps later, Buemi was overtaken by Vergne into the hairpin, and from then on, he was pretty much clear of the pack, considering his only real competition today was the Jags.
Lap 23 saw Jake Hughes, the rookie sensation, bin it in the wall, causing Safety Car. He did report that a loose mirror locked his steering, how bizarre!
After 3 laps behind the Porsche Taycan, the racing resumed, now with a lap added.
Almost immediately, the McLaren of Rene Rast hit the rear of Jake Dennis’ Andretti, causing a puncture and damaging his rear fins. Dennis had to pit, and that pretty much ended his race. He finished last of the runners, a minute behind.
This stage of the E-Prix saw many runners start managing energy, for Vergne was 2 percent down on Cassidy in second, causing a lot of mutter as to if he can even finish the race.
A bit behind everyone, we had Oliver Rowland making his way up to 4th. However, to his dismay, his move around the outside of the hairpin did not work and let Da Costa in the Porsche through to 4th, a move that would prove incredibly rewarding later.
The Final Laps
Come lap 29, and all eyes were on Vergne. Having led the majority of the race, his biggest threat was now his state of charge. Running on the equivalent of fumes in ICE cars, Vergne pulled off an insanely efficient last couple of laps to keep the fast-moving Cassidy behind.
Ultimately, Vergne crossed the chequered flag on lap 33 to win the Hyderabad E-Prix, with 0.0% according to the TV graphics, and almost instantly came to a halt!
On the tarmac, it was Cassidy and Buemi that came 2nd and 3rd respectively. However, a maximum power infringement saw him get demoted down to 15th, ruining Envision’s double podium, and Buemi’s enthusiasm.
It was Antonio Felix Da Costa that reaped the rewards off of Buemi’s loss at the end of the day. For he was promoted to 3rd and secured another Podium for Porsche, who increasingly look untouchable this season after nailing their powertrain for Gen3.
All in all, it was a good day for many. Jaguar will go back rueing at the opportunity they let slip today, and Mahindra, the other home team enjoyed a solid weekend, finishing 6th with Rowland as they continue to develop their package.
Although there were some hiccups here and there. For the first motorsport event in the country after a decade, the Formula E Hyderabad E-Prix saw a solid amount of crowd. Let’s just hope that this rekindles the love for motorsport among Indians again!
(Image Credits: Formula E)