Formula E returned this weekend, after a two week break to the Circuit Hermanos Rodiguez after a year’s hiatus, and the venue certainly did not disappoint. The reintroduction of fans to what is arguably one of the most animated circuits on the calendar only served to make the atmosphere more electric as Pascal Wehrlein finally clinched his and Porsche’s first win in the all-electric series, with a dominant display from the front row to fend off current championship leader Edo Mortara.
Wehrlein took pole in a dominant fashion, having impressed throughout the group stages, posting the fastest time of the entire session in his group. He soon disposed of Vandoorne and Vergne to claim his position in the final duel alongside previous race winner Mortara. However, Mortara was unable to clinch his first pole in the series, missing the mark by only two tenths and had to settle for P2 and a front row start opposite the German driver. Despite this disappointment, Mortara looked strong, continuing with his fantastic form from the beginning of the season. Struggling Techeetah seemed to come into their own in the capital city, with both Jean-Eric Vergne and Antonio Felix da Costa both making the duels, lining up in P4 and P5 for the start of the race, whilst title favourites Mercedes struggled in the conditions, both drivers unable to reach the semi-finals in the new qualifying format.
Wehrlein started well, able to fend off Mortara’s attack at the start of the race whilst Alexander Sims’ bad run of luck continued with his Mahindra stopping on the first lap due to a technical issue. Wehrlein continued to hold firm until attack modes began to be deployed and strategy came into play. Mortara pounced early on to seize the lead as Porsche worried over energy management and both Wehrlein and Lotterer began to slip down the order, the pair both caught by Vergne in the early stages. Both Vergne and Da Costa began to hunt down Mortara for the lead, but Porsche had already begun to claw back the positions they had lost earlier.
Wehrlein, with more energy than those around him, was given the order to hurry things up and cleared Vergne shortly after, before he hunted down Mortara to retake the lead of the race and the German driver never vanquished the position, Lotterer was ordered to stay behind to ensure that a repeat of last year’s events in Puebla did not occur, leaving the Porsche veteran still searching for his first win in the electric series. Both Porsches crossed the line with just over a second to go, forcing an extra lap onto many drivers’ already tight energy management strategies – it worked well for Porsche who were able to claim a dominant 1-2 in the city that has caused them so much pain in the past, Vergne picked up his first podium of the season, taking a well deserved P3.
The extra lap did not work out so well for others such as Envision’s Robin Frijns who looked incredible in the middle of the race and was forced to manage his depleting energy reserves in the latter stages. Equally, Mitch Evans and Sam Bird finally looked to have some decent points on the board for Jaguar before the extra lap forced them to run out of energy halfway through the final lap.
Formula E will return in Rome on April 9th.