Formula E

Vergne wins India Formula E thriller, Jaguars collide

by Jack Cozens
8 min read

Jean-Eric Vergne put up an improbable defence of the lead to win the inaugural Hyderabad E-Prix, as the works Jaguar Formula E team’s race imploded when Sam Bird took out his polesitting team-mate Mitch Evans.

The victory, sealed by holding off the Envision-Jaguar of Nick Cassidy following a late-race safety car, was Vergne’s first in for nearly two years and the first for the new DS Penske alliance.

Vergne, who started second for the DS Penske squad, was covered off at the start by Evans and spent the opening phase of the race in battle with the works Jaguar and Sebastien Buemi’s customer-spec version.

Buemi made the first significant move of the race on lap seven of 32 when he dived to the inside of Vergne at the hairpin at the same time that Evans opted to take his attack mode – a shuffle that put Buemi’s Envision into the lead and Evans briefly as far back as fourth.

The time Evans spent repassing the Nissan of the impressive Sacha Fenestraz allowed both Buemi and Vergne to take attack mode for the first time in the following laps and emerge ahead of Evans, and that pair soon pulled clear.

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If the race had not unfolded to plan for Evans before that point, things then went further south as Bird braked too late into the hairpin and wiped his team-mate out – with Fenestraz and the Maserati of Maximilian Guenther, sixth until that point, also delayed.

Runner-up Cassidy took full advantage of that to jump right up to third and he soon reeled in the leading pair – passing Buemi as his team-mate took attack mode for the second time, moments after being repassed by Vergne for the lead.

Cassidy took attack mode the next time by and though he emerged behind Jake Dennis’s Andretti-Porsche he was ahead of Buemi, before clearing Dennis at the hairpin on the following lap.

A superior amount of useable energy appeared to put Cassidy in the pound seat at this point, with the field then bunched up as McLaren became the next team to have its race go awry when Jake Hughes crashed exiting the hairpin.

“The mirror got stuck behind the steering wheel,” reported Hughes, who pirouetted into the wall exiting the corner – resulting in the safety car being deployed.

Seven of the original 32 laps remained by the time the safety car came in, at which point Cassidy had a 3% energy advantage over Vergne.

This grew closer to 4% in the final stages of the race – extended by one lap to 33 as a result of the time spent behind the safety car – but, despite numerous attempts to draw alongside Vergne into the hairpin, Cassidy failed to find a way through.

Vergne just made the finish with enough useable energy to win by 0.4s, with Envision denied a double podium post-race when Buemi was handed a drive-through penalty for ‘overpowering’ that dropped him from third behind Cassidy to 15th.

The final podium position instead went to Antonio Felix da Costa, who took his first top-three finish for Porsche after a steady rise up the order.

Team-mate and points leader Pascal Wehrlein had a similar rise later on in the race, having dropped to 15th at the start, and was classified fourth, with Sergio Sette Camara preserving his energy late in the race to claim a strong fifth for the NIO 333 team.

Oliver Rowland challenged Buemi for a podium briefly late on – he actually lost a position to da Costa while attempting to pass the Envision around the outside at the hairpin – but was never really in contention for the place as he had a five-second penalty for track limits.

He was still classified sixth for Mahindra, with Norman Nato seventh for Nissan and Stoffel Vandoorne eighth in the second DS Penske car.

Andretti’s Andre Lotterer was ninth – team-mate Dennis having plummeted down the order, before pitting for repairs, after he was tagged by the second McLaren of Rene Rast on the restart when the pair were running fourth and fifth – while the points were completed by Edoardo Mortara.

A torrid start to the season appeared to be continuing for the Maserati driver as he broke his front wing in the opening stages, but he recovered to take the final point once multiple track limits penalties were applied.

Race Results

Pos Name Team Car Laps Laps Led Total Time Fastest Lap Pitstops Pts
1 Jean-Eric Vergne DS Penske DS E-Tense FE23 33 0 46m01.099s 1m15.325s 0 25
2 Nick Cassidy Envision Racing Jaguar I-TYPE 6 33 0 +0.4s 1m15.053s 0 18
3 António Félix da Costa TAG Heuer Porsche Porsche 99X Electric 33 0 +1.859s 1m15.168s 0 15
4 Pascal Wehrlein TAG Heuer Porsche Porsche 99X Electric 33 0 +2.855s 1m14.8s 0 12
5 Sérgio Sette Câmara NIO 333 Racing NIO 333 ER9 33 0 +3.523s 1m15.371s 0 10
6 Oliver Rowland Mahindra Racing Mahindra M9Electro 33 0 +7.138s 1m15.199s 0 8
7 Norman Nato Nissan Nissan e-4ORCE 04 33 0 +7.318s 1m14.698s 0 7
8 Stoffel Vandoorne DS Penske DS E-Tense FE23 33 0 +7.564s 1m15.077s 0 4
9 André Lotterer Avalanche Andretti Porsche 99X Electric 33 0 +8.703s 1m14.847s 0 2
10 Edoardo Mortara Maserati MSG Racing Maserati Tipo Folgore 33 0 +9.073s 1m14.81s 0 1
11 Nico Müller ABT CUPRA Mahindra M9Electro 33 0 +10.622s 1m14.656s 0 0
12 Sacha Fenestraz Nissan Nissan e-4ORCE 04 33 0 +11.635s 1m15.031s 0 0
13 Maximilian Günther Maserati MSG Racing Maserati Tipo Folgore 33 0 +15.446s 1m15.273s 0 0
14 Lucas Di Grassi Mahindra Racing Mahindra M9Electro 33 0 +15.999s 1m14.757s 0 0
15 Sébastien Buemi Envision Racing Jaguar I-TYPE 6 33 0 +45h45m52.901s 1m15.46s 0 0
16 Jake Dennis Avalanche Andretti Porsche 99X Electric 33 0 +1m10.562s 1m14.677s 0 0
René Rast NEOM McLaren Nissan e-4ORCE 04 25 0 DNF 1m15.51s 0 0
Jake Hughes NEOM McLaren Nissan e-4ORCE 04 22 0 DNF 1m15.288s 0 0
Sam Bird Jaguar TCS Racing Jaguar I-TYPE 6 18 0 DNF 1m15.469s 0 0
Daniel Ticktum NIO 333 Racing NIO 333 ER9 15 0 DNF 1m15.861s 0 0
Mitch Evans Jaguar TCS Racing Jaguar I-TYPE 6 12 0 DNF 1m15.961s 0 3
Kelvin van der Linde ABT CUPRA Mahindra M9Electro 9 0 DNF 1m17.047s 0 0
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