UPDATE: Di Grassi stripped of his win after a spectacular race around the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez
The inagural Mexico ePrix had many twists and turns to rival its successful return to the F1 calendar last season, and not just on the racetrack. The stewards were active both during and after the ePrix, stripping the Brazilian of the victory after his car was found to be underweight.
The race itself was very much focused on the escapades of the top five drivers as they fought, stumbled and fisticuffed their way around the circuit.
Belgian driver Jerome D’Ambrosio gave it his all after taking pole position, but had no answer to a stunning move by Lucas di Grassi, aided by FanBoost.
It wasn’t the only impressive move by di Grassi, who stormed round Nico Prost for second place in the final lap before the pit stops. Prost started on the front row of the grid after out-qualifying teammate Sebastien Buemi, who started in fifth after a lock-up in the Super Pole session.
The last ten laps might not have been the cleanest, but they were certainly entertaining.
Buemi scrapped with D’Ambrosio over second place, first hitting the back of the Belgian’s car in a misjudged move, then cutting the chicane to take the position. He then tried to give the place back to D’Ambrosio, who had moved on to the dirty part of the track and had to pace to take it, leaving Nico Prost to decide to have a go at taking the position.
Ultimately, D’Ambrosio got back past the two Renault e.dams drivers after storming through the same chicane Buemi used to pass him in the first place.
Daniel Abt was in the thick of it for most of the race, and after Prost was handed a penalty for an unsafe release was looking good in his inherited fourth place. However a mistake saw him end up in the barriers, and though he was able to continue, he finished down in 8th.
It never rains, but it pours for da Costa
His day could have been worse though. After a strong qualifying saw him set the seventh-fastest time, Antonio Felix da Costa’s day went downhill quickly. A gearbox change saw him pick up a ten-place grid penalty and forced him to start on the last row of the grid.
How my day went… pic.twitter.com/JoLcv2bdlD
— Ant Felix da Costa (@afelixdacosta) 12 March 2016
He was then handed a ten second time penalty for breaching Parc Ferme and working on the car, before being handed a drive-through penalty for not respecting track limits.
Sam Bird had a quiet race after starting in 10th and finishing in 7th. He attempted a dive down the side of Nick Heidfeld but couldn’t get the car stopped in time for the chicane and had to yield to the German.
Nelson Piquet Jr recovered from a huge crash in qualifying that saw him start at the back of the grid to finish in 14th. Simona de Silvestro had her best qualifying of her Formula E career in 11th, but fell back to 15th in the race after several battles with her teammate Robin Frijns for postion.
Local hero Salvador Duran certainly had the backing of the fans and had a clear lead in FanBoost, but finished down in 16th.
But top honours of the day went to deserving di Grassi, who was determined to not to repeat his mistake in Buenos Aires and fought tooth and nail for the victory.
Six races remain of the 2015/16 season, and the Brazilian driver has taken the lead of the Drivers’ Championship from Buemi. Is this the start of a slippery slope for the Swiss that will see him lose out on the title for the second year running?
Mexico ePrix results
Nelson PIQUET JR
Simona DE SILVESTRO
Antonio Felix DA COSTA
Lucas di Grassi (EXCLUDED)
Formula E returns on 2nd April for the Long Beach ePrix