The Santiago Grand Prix was the third round out of the eleven in the 2019-20 Formula E Championship, where we saw BMW’s Alexander Sims at the top of the table with a win and pole position in Diriyah. He was closely followed by Mercedes’ Stoffel Vandoorne and Envision Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird.
The Formula E qualifying is split into four groups, dependant on your placement in the standings. Group one sees Alexander Sims, Stoffel Vandoorne, Andre Lotterer, Sam Bird, Oliver Rowland and Lucas di Grassi. Lotterer is the first on the grid for his flying lap, followed soon after by Alexander Sims and Oliver Rowland. During their warm up lap, Sims takes the overall best for sector one which is soon snubbed by Rowland as her crosses to sector two. Lotterer and Sims both take a green sector two and three before they head for their flying lap. Vandoorne and Bird are next to go out for their warm up lap, quickly followed by di Grassi. Vandoorne and Bird battle for the purple sectors but Lotterer shoots to the top. He’s quickly demoted by Vandoorne who sets a 1:05.566, 0.235 quicker. Rowland crashes out, causing di Grassi to slow, placing the Brazilian in 6th in the group.
For group two, we see Robin Frijns, Nyck de Vries, Jean-Eric Vergne, Edoardo Mortara, James Calado and Daniel Abt take to the track. Calado is out at the front, ahead of Abt as we head into the second qualifying. The four remaining drivers will not take a warm up lap and head straight into their flying lap after their out lap. Abt takes a purple first sector as he chases down Calado. Calado takes purple in the second sector as the remaining four head for their flying lap. Mortara takes the inside line on Frijns to get ahead in qualifying. Abt and Calado sit in fifth and sixth after their warm up lap as they battle with the remaining four. Nyck de Vries goes quickest out of the grid but is soon dethroned as Mortara goes 0.013 quicker.
We move into group 3 where we see Brendon Hartley, Antonio Felix da Costa, Mitch Evans, Maximilian Guenther, Jerome D’Ambrosio and Pascal Wehrlein take to the track. Evan’s and Guenther head out on their warm up laps, followed by da Costa from the pits. Guenther takes a purple first and second sector which places him at 11th. Evans goes on to take the fastest first and second sector of the day as he crosses the line in first by sixth tenths. Guenther moves himself to second following his flying lap while Hartley goes 12th and da Costa crosses in sixth. Wehrlein moves up to third, pushing da Costa out of super pole.
To finish off qualifying, we see group four head out with Oliver Turvey, Nico Mueller, Neel Jani, Felipe Massa, Sebastien Buemi and Ma Qinghua. Qinghua is unable to go out and qualify due to a crash in free practise. Buemi, Massa and Turvey push their way up to third, fourth and fifth, dropping Mortara, de Vries and Vandoorne out of super pole.
Heading into super pole, we see Evans, Guenther, Buemi, Massa, Turvey and Wehrlein. Wehrlein is out on track first, where he takes a purple first and second sector with two personal bests. He crosses the line with a 1:05.645. Second up was Oliver Turvey. He’s slightly slower than Wehrlein in the first and second sector, qualifying 0.143 seconds behind. Massa is next up, taking sector one slightly slower than Wehrlein and Turvey. He finds himself with an identical lap time to Wehrlein, placing him second. Next on to the grid is Buemi, still slower than Wehrlein in the first and second sector and falls to fourth, 0.164 behind Turvey. Guenther is the fifth driver to step onto the track, taking a purple first and second sector, taking provisional pole by 0.543 seconds. The final driver out is Evans. He takes a purple first sector, going slightly quicker than Guenther but falls slower in the second sector. Evans manages to land himself on pole position as he goes 0.275 seconds quicker than the BMW driver.
The grid is as follows:
1. Mitch Evans – Panasonic Jaguar Racing – 1:04.827
2. Maximilian Guenther – BMW i Andretti Motorsport – +0.275
3. Pascal Wehrlein – Mahindra Racing – +0.818
4. Felipe Massa – ROKiT Venturi Racing – + 0.818
5. Oliver Turvey – NIO 333 – +0.961
6. Sebastien Buemi – Nissan e.DAMS – +0.982
7. Edoardo Mortara – ROKiT Venturi Racing – 1:05.547
8. Nyck de Vries – Mercedes-Benz EQ – +0.013
9. Stoffel Vandoorne – Mercedes-Benz EQ – +0.019
10. Antonio Felix da Costa – DS Techeetah – +0.027
11. Jean-Eric Vergne – DS Techeetah – +0.078
12. Neel Jani – TAG Heuer Porsche – +0.149
13. Daniel Abt – Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler – +0.198
14. Andre Lotterer – TAG Heuer Porsche – 0.+254
15. Alexander Sims – BMW i Andretti Motorsport – +0.301
16. Sam Bird – Envision Virgin Racing – +0.339
17. Brendon Hartley – Geox Dragon – +0.579
18. James Calado – Panasonic Jaguar Racing – +0.758
19. Nico Mueller – Geox Dragon – +0.820
20. Jerome D’Ambrosio – Mahindra Racing – +2.145
21. Robin Frijns – Envision Virgin Racing – +3.542
22. Oliver Rowland – Nissan e.Dams – +12.692
23. Lucas di Grassi – Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler – +20.979
24. Ma Qinghua – NIO 333 – UNABLE TO SET TIME
Ahead of the race, Ma and Rowland both face penalties which saw Rowland start 23rd and Ma in 24th. Evans gets a good start but Wehrlein’s is better as he gets ahead of Guenther and places himself in second. d’Ambrosio falls to the back of the grid while de Vries drops through the standings to tenth. Sims makes a late drive down the inside to move himself up to eleventh. The top five after lap one sits with Evans in P1 followed by Wehrlein, Guenther, Turvey and Mortara. Wehrlein takes the fastest lap. Jani and Frijns are the first to pit after being involved in collisions. Rowland has managed to work his way up to sixteenth. d’Ambrosio makes a late dive down the inside on Calado to take nineteenth.
Sims falls back down the grid to twenty-first after a small collision earlier on in the race with Buemi. Evans has managed to take 1.9 second lead on second place. Vandoorne takes the lead on Vergne as the two DS Techeetah’s fall onto the back of the Mercedes. The second Mercedes in de Vries was close behind. A full course yellow flag is caused after Sims retires from the race due to damage. Vergne and da Costa manage to get ahead of the Mercedes once the green flag is called. Abt makes it ahead of de Vries but soon loses the position to the Dutch man again in the following corner. As de Vries exists, a group of cars cluster together, sending Bird spinning in the middle of the track and dropping through the order.
Oliver Rowland’s car falls to pieces as he loses the front wing during his first attack mode. Mortara and Massa battle it out for fourth but its Mortara that takes the position. With thirty minutes and one lap to go, Evans is still keeping a hold on first. Mortara and Massa battle it out again, sending Massa into the wall and allowing Vergne and da Costa to get by. Vergne holds onto the fastest lap. da Costa enters his second attack mode in hopes to get ahead of Massa and his team mate. His hopes are granted as he moves into sixth, ahead of Massa. de Vries is next to follow as he also goes ahead of Massa.
Guenther is able to get ahead of Wehrlein as he makes the most of his attack mode. His next goal is Evans. He chases him down to turn nine after a long battle, heading down the inside and moving up to first. Guenther now sits in first. Lower down the grid, Vandoorne holds onto fastest lap. During this race, da Costa, de Vries, Vandoorne, Abt and di Grassi all have the opportunity to use fan boost. With 20 minutes and a lap to go, de Vries uses his fan boost.
Mortara attempts to hold his position from da Costa as they fight for fifth. da Costa makes a move on Mortara, leaving the door open for Mercedes de Vries to go for a move. None of the drivers change position. Vergne gradually gets closer to Wehrlein as he chases him down the field, closing the gap and getting ahead. Close behind them, da Costa and de Vries get ahead of Mortara as he hits the wall.
Wehrlein drops through the standings as da Costa moves up to fourth, dropping him to fifth. Vergne experiences a front tyre issue that holds up his team mate, da Costa, while his car slows rapidly. da Costa is able to get ahead as Vergne refuses to head to the pit. The tyre punctures, allowing de Vries to get ahead. Vergne refuses to pit for a second lap. d’Ambrosio, de Vries and Buemi are all given five second time penalties for a technical infraction. Vergne is able to get rid of the faulty part on the track and continues his race.
Vergne finally pits as Guenther continues to expand his lead. Rowland now holds the fastest lap in twenty-first. Vergne is out of the car and retires from the race due to the damage. da Costa is quick on Evans tail with seven minutes and a lap to go. The Brazilian is able to get ahead of Evans to take second. Ma is given a five second time penalty for a technical infraction. Rowland is given a drive through penalty for causing a collision.
With three minutes and a lap to go, da Costa makes a move on Guenther but isn’t manage able to make it. He goes for another lunge, pushing the car of Guenther and taking the position. da Costa is requested to cool his engine. Guenther makes the move against da Costa into the first turn as we head into the second to last lap. da Costa defends aggressively against Guenther as they head into the final lap. Guenther makes a late lunge, pushing ahead of da Costa as they head into the hair pin and pushes down to the finish line. Guenther crosses the line in first place, taking his first Formula E win. d’Ambrosio and Buemi’s penalties were later changed to drive through penalties.
The race results are as follows:
1. Maximilian Gunther
2. Antonio Felix da Costa
3. Mitch Evans
4. Pascal Wehrlein
5. Nyck de Vries
6. Stoffel Vandoorne
7. Lucas di Grassi
8. James Calado
9. Felipe Massa
10. Sam Bird
11. Oliver Turvey
12. Nico Mueller
13. Sebastien Buemi
14. Daniel Abt
15. Robin Frijns
16. Ma Qinghua
17. Oliver Rowland
NC. Jerome d’Ambrosio
Ret. Brendon Hartley – Retired in pits
Ret. Jean-Eric Vergne – Front wing damage
Ret. Edoardo Mortara – Collision damage
Ret. Alexander Sims – Collison damage
Ret. Neel Jani – Collison damage
DSQ. Andre Lotterer – Energy overusage
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