Vergne leads Techeetah 1-2 in Santiago

February 3, 2018

Vergne leads Techeetah 1-2 in Santiago

February 3, 2018

Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne completed a near-perfect race in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship’s inaugural Santiago E-Prix. With teammate Andre Lotterer second, it also marked the first team 1-2 in Formula E series history.

Vergne led all but one of the 37 laps from pole en route to his first Formula E win of the season, and the second of his career (2017 Montreal two). He only lost the lead on the pit stop exchange, when DS Virgin’s Sam Bird stayed out a lap longer.

Pit stop deltas were a story heading into the race. The series eliminated  the minimum pit stop delta when drivers pitted to change cars.

But it mattered not within the grand scheme of the race. Vergne led in-and-out of the pit sequence among those who were on the same cycle.

Teammate Andre Lotterer had by far his best result of his first Formula E campaign, coming second to Vergne by 1.154 seconds, and after trying several attempts to pass him.

The first came when Lotterer attempted to pass Vergne around the outside at Turn 3 on Lap 30, but halted his charge on exit to avoid hitting the wall.

Later, Lotterer almost crashed into Vergne again on Lap 33 at the same point of the track. Heading into Turn 3, Lotterer’s nose mounted Vergne’s rear wing assembly as he locked up.

Renault e.dams’ Sebastien Buemi, Mahindra’s Felix Rosenqvist and DS Virgin’s Bird all closed within a couple seconds, but none upended the leaders.

Buemi was forced to defend against Rosenqvist and Bird in the final three laps of the race, but held on for his second straight podium finish.

Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Nelson Piquet Jr. ran third early but fell down the order as the race progressed. Teammate Mitch Evans, Jerome d’Ambrosio, Antonio Felix da Costa and Nicolas Prost completed the top-10 finishers.

Lucas di Grassi’s luckless season continued, as the defending series champion was one of six drivers who failed to finish. Di Grassi is yet to score through four races.

Vergne now moves into the points lead after four races. He has 71 points, and is five ahead of Rosenqvist. Bird is third (-10) and Buemi fourth (34).

The series resumes in Mexico City for Round 5, on March 3.

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