Hong Kong E-Prix: Round 1 - Race Report - 03 DEC 2017
- Mitch Evans set the fastest qualifying lap in the group stages, but started the race at P4 after a penalty
- Mitch held off DS Virgin Racing’s Alex Lynn to finish in 4th place, Nelson took 12th
- The winner Daniel Abt was disqualified, leading to Mitch earning a spot on the podium in third place
- Panasonic Jaguar Racing finished the weekend in fifth place in the team standings with 27 points
Hong Kong E-Prix in photos
Panasonic Jaguar Racing finish 3rd in Round 2 of the Hong Kong E-Prix
Following a full day of racing in Round 1, 20 drivers were warmed up for Round 2 and ready to provide another wonderful spectacle on Sunday. The temperature was still high, the sun still grilling those watching but that didn’t stop over 35,000 fans from getting together in Hong Kong Central Harbour to enjoy the second day of racing.
The day started with a very successful qualifying session. Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans set a record time through the second sector of the circuit, recording the fastest lap and remaining in the top spot through to the end. This gave the team its first chance to fight for the top five starting positions on the grid in the super pole shoot out.
Nelson Piquet Jr. achieved a good result in Round 1 of the Hong Kong E-Prix but struggled to repeat his performance in qualifying on day 2, finishing in 12th. Nelson commented, “The field is getting more and more competitive… and there is a fine line between under driving and over driving. I was a little too on the safe side”. He was not the only one who had a challenging qualifying session. Several top drivers finished below him including the last two season’s champions, Lucas Di Grassi and Sebastien Buemi.
Felix Rosenqvist managed to convert a fourth place in qualifying to a win in Super Pole. Mitch Evans continued to deliver a strong performance, coming second by only 0.05s. However, some of the super pole contestants started lower on the grid due to penalties, with Mitch starting the race in P4 and Round 1 winner Sam Bird in P10.
This weekend featured some very unusual starts for Formula E. In Round 1 a red flag was shown almost as soon as racing began due to a collision, and in Round 2 the race began behind the safety car, putting a lot of pressure on the drivers to adapt from a standing start to a rolling start. As soon as the safety car pulled in, an intense battle for position began. The first corner has been a challenge for the drivers all weekend, and today was no different. Felix Rosenqvist spun out at the corner and ground to a dead stop, influencing the standings considerably. Not only did Rosenqvist lose his first place, but Mitch moved into third and the positions towards the rear of the pack changed greatly. Nelson Piquet Jr. put his tremendous racing experience and reactions to good use, taking this chance to pass 3 other racers to move into 8th.
After a difficult pit stop, Mitch started the second half of the race in fourth. For a relatively young racer Mitch Evans showed great determination, holding off Jean-Eric Vergne for more than 20 laps to finish the race in fourth. Formula E showed how unpredictable it can be, as on the 12th lap Nelson Piquet Jr. dropped from 8th to 14th. He didn’t give up the fight and passed two racers on the last few laps, securing a 13th place finish.
Daniel Abt held second throughout nearly the whole race. On the third to last lap, race leader Edoardo Mortara’s back axle locked out, allowing Daniel Abt to finish in first. He described this as a fairy tale as he received 25 points on his 25th birthday! But anything can happen in Formula E - Daniel Abt’s car was disqualified for a technical violation shortly after the race. This secured the first ever podium finish for Panasonic Jaguar Racing as Mitch Evans moved up to third, a fantastic result for the first race weekend of the season. The result sees the team sitting in fifth in the team rankings, a very solid start to Season 4 and one the whole team will be looking to build upon going forward.