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Vergne’s victory in Hyderabad was incredible but here’s why the whole race was coined as the best Formula E race in years.
Jean-Eric Vergne won the Hyderabad E-Prix in dramatic fashion but there were stories throughout the race. The race saw some of Formula E’s most accomplished drivers take centre stage.
Although Vergne took the chequered flag, there were threats from both Buemi and Cassidy and podium challenges from Jake Dennis, Da Costa. Even Wehrlein got into the mix, despite starting in the bottom half of the grid.
Here are some of the key stories that made Hyderabad so great:
An exhilarating Battle for First Place
Vergne’s victory in India didn’t come easily to the French Driver. He had serious overtakes to do before he took the lead and had to defend for most of the race.
It was Mitch Evans on pole with Jean-Eric Vergne alongside him. When the race started, Evans almost immediately pulled off a dramatic move across to block off Vergne. This move was the start of many in the race.
The change of the lead happened on Lap 7. Evans went into attack mode so it was apparent that Vergne would move in first. Yet, out of nowhere, Buemi pulled off a double overtake and took the lead of the race.
Vergne took over for the lead a couple of laps later when Buemi went into attack mode. From then it was a defensive masterclass. The French driver proved his worth as a double world champion as he survived attacks from Cassidy and Buemi.
“[Vergne] fended off pressure from the Envision duo for the majority of the race”
It appeared that in the closing stages of the race, Envision’s Nick Cassidy was going to take the lead. His Envision had nearly 3% more energy than Vergne’s DS Penske and was in touching distance.
On the last lap, the race leader had less than 1% energy. At this point, many thought Vergne’s hopes for victory were over. Despite this pressure, the world champion kept it calm, defended impeccably and “used his vast experience to take the chequered flag”.
A controversial podium
Vergne’s victory in India meant that Cassidy, who brought a good fight to the winner, finished in second. The Kiwi was really happy with this result and it meant he got to claim his first podium of Season 9. What made it even better was that it was a double podium finish for Envision.
Confetti suits you, @NickCassidy_ 🤩 pic.twitter.com/Cth1A9Jc1y
— Envision Racing (@Envision_Racing) February 11, 2023
Cassidy’s teammate, Buemi, came home in third after having a good race also. The podium was Vergne, Cassidy and then Buemi.
This was until Buemi was slapped with a drive-through penalty which equated to around 30 seconds. He was given the penalty for overpower usage. This meant he tumbled down the standings to 15th place. Buemi looked visibly annoyed and upset as he had such a great race.
On a more positive note, António Félix Da Costa gained a position and took the third place trophy home on his 100th Formula E race.
A bad day for Jaguar
One of the talking points of the race was Jaguar. They had such a good start as Mitch Evans was starting in first and Sam Bird, his teammate, wasn’t far back in sixth. Despite getting overtaken on Lap 7, Mitch Evans still looked to be on track for a good result.
On lap 13, heading into the hairpin, Sam Bird tried to overtake Sacha Fenestraz. In doing so he crashed into his teammate, Fenestraz and also involved the Maserati of Günther. It left both Jaguars in a bad condition and both subsequently retired from the race.
An absence of Porsche power?
The Hyderabad E-Prix saw so much drama happening at the front, many didn’t realise that the two championship contenders, Dennis and Wehrlein, were making moves to the front.
Before the Jaguar crash, Jake Dennis was in ninth place but found himself in a shocking second place after overtaking Buemi on Lap 16. Although he lost out to Cassidy and then Buemi a few laps later, he looked set on a good points finish.
With Wehrlein back down the road it appeared that Dennis would take the lead in the championship too.
This was until Lap 26 when he was hit by Rene Rast. Dennis appeared to have a puncture on his right rear tyre and had to pit. He finished out of the points and lost his slight advantage.
A rollercoaster of a race 🎢
Andre picks up a valuable point for the team with a brilliant drive, whilst some bad luck for Jake keeps him from scoring points.#HyderabadEPrix pic.twitter.com/ISZbmpEvTM
— Avalanche Andretti Formula E 🔺 (@AndrettiFE) February 11, 2023
Wehrlein had also been slowly making overtakes towards the front. As all the focus was on Vergne and Cassidy, many didn’t realise he was in the points and was looking at a top-five finish. When Buemi got his unfortunate penalty, Wehrlein finished in fourth place.
Considering he qualified in 13th place, a fourth-place finish was the perfect way for Wehrlein to round to the weekend.
Vergne’s victory in India saw him under threat from Envision drivers, however, this doesn’t mean that there was an absence of Porsche power. The Porsche powertrain teams still did well, especially their works team.
Why was Hyderabad one to remember?
The Hyderabad E-Prix was racing at its finest. The lead changed hands, there were plenty of overtakes to keep you entertained and enough DNF’s (six) to shake up the order. The cherry on top… that it all happened in 33 laps.
Feature Image Credit: DS_Performance on Twitter