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São Paulo E-Prix: Mitch Evans takes well-deserved victory after intense race

An intense race which featured safety cars, crashes and a three-way battle to the finish line

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Mitch Evans navigates an intense São Paulo E-Prix including two safety cars and countless lead changes.

Mitch Evans took an impressive victory in the São Paulo E-Prix by beating out Bird and Cassidy to the finish line. Image Credit: @RaceGear on Twitter

After a spectacular qualifying session, which saw Stoffel Vandoorne take his first pole position of the season, a perfect storm was forming. This storm was DS Penske battling with Porsche at the front and with Pascal Wehrlein and Jake Dennis needing to make many overtakes from the back end of the grid. Or so we thought.

Neither of these battles appeared to matter as in the actual race, a great battle between Bird and Cassidy became the most important one.

Pre-Race Predictions

All eyes were on Wehrlein and Dennis as the pair started in 18th and 14th. Ahead of the race Wehrlein said that he hoped to build upon his poor qualifying performance and said he was optimistic as Porsche has previously been “better in the race”. His current championship rival, Jake Dennis, said he “wanted to get involved” and “pull some big points” by getting his elbows out.

As Formula E is finally in Brazil, many fans in the crowd will be hoping Lucas di Grassi has a decent race following a crash in qualifying. They will also be watching Sergio Sette Camara who will be hoping to get some more points for Nio.

Luckily, the nature of the track means there should be lots of overtaking down any of the four straights. Attack mode for this race is at the Turn 3 hairpin and will provide lots of excitement as the drivers go off the racing line. Many have predicted that the São Paulo Grand Prix

First Few Laps

As the lights went green, Stoffel Vandoorne launched off the line and made up a great gap, a “perfect getaway. Going into Turn 3 Edoardo Mortara and Norman Nato both struggled. Nato went into the back of Jake Hughes’ McLaren and had to retire. Mortara made contact through Turn 2 and then struggled into Turn 3.

On Lap 2, Maximillian Günther looked like he was having issues as he cut the chicane at the start of the lap. Sebastien Buemi tried to avoid contact in Turn 2 but heavily went into the back of Günther’s Maserati. This caused Dan Ticktum to take evasive action in a split second.

Amongst the madness, Wehrlein has made up eight places and passed Dennis on the way to tenth place.

On Lap 4, some of the backmarkers took attack mode already but it seemed that those in the lead were trying to save energy and attack mode.

Laps 5- 10

Once the race got to Lap 5, all the drivers started to get aggressive once they found their form. Sam Bird made a great move down the straight on Jake Hughes and moved up into sixth place. He soon lost these places as he went off the racing line to go into attack mode for the whole three minutes.

On Lap 5, Stoffel Vandoorne activated his attack mode and fell down into second however on the start-finish straight, he retook the lead from Da Costa two laps later. Da Costa seemed unbothered to defend the move but this was a poor decision as he fell down the order with Evans and Cassidy passing him.

The tricky track proved to be hard as Nick Cassidy went airborne for a moment whilst racing with Sam Bird.

On Lap 8 the safety car came out as Sacha Fenestraz stopped on track and couldn’t get going again. A race that Nissan would want to forget as both of their drivers were out in the first 10 laps.

As it stood, the order was Vandoorne, Evans, Cassidy, Da Costa and Vergne in the top five under the safety car. Wehrlein was in 10th with Dennis right behind him in 11th. Whilst the safety car went on, the atmosphere at the samba drome was noticeably electric with the many Brazilian fans keeping up the energy with cheers and music.

Laps 11- 17

The safety car came in on Lap 11 and Vandoorne pulled off a great restart. However, at the energy check-in, it was apparent that Vandoorne was only on 70% whereas others behind him had at least 3% more.

On Lap 14, Cassidy stormed past Vandoorne to take the lead and then immediately go into attack mode. He quickly made up the places and got back to second place. It was starting to become a game of cat and mouse as no one was wanting to be in the lead of the race due to the energy loss.

Further down the pack, Jake Dennis and Pascal Wehrlein came together. The two championship rivals made contact but Jake Dennis was the one who lost out as he had more damage and stopped on track. Wehrlein appeared to make it away relatively unscathed.

It was later revealed that the reason Dennis had so much damage and eventually went into Wehrelain was because Dan Ticktum went way too deep at the end of the start/finish straight and went straight into Dennis’ rear.

Cassidy’s Envision took the lead on Lap 15 and Da Costa also got past Vandoorne on the same lap. Nearly a lap after Dennis stopped on the track, the safety car finally came out and this was the second one of the race.

During this safety car, the standing was Cassidy, Da Costa, Vandoorne, Evans and Vergne in the top 5. Notably, Di Grassi had made up ten places into 12th at his home race.

Laps 18-26

The Saftey Car came in on Lap 18 and on Lap 19, Cassidy went through attack mode which effectively promoted Da Costa into the lead. During this time, Vandoorne also went through the sequence.

A lap later Da Costa and Evans took attack mode too. At this point, the Top 4 were all in attack mode with Cassidy at the front but Evans swiftly beat him for the lead on Lap 20. It was intense at the front. It was also announced that Da Costa and Evans were under investigation for overtaking under yellow flags.

By Lap 21, Wehrlein had made it up to P6 and became one to watch for the upcoming final battle. This then became fifth as he got past Jean-Eric Vergne. This was all done without using any of his attack modes.

By Lap 23, Vandoorne was being told to save energy and it became apparent that his time in the lead took up a lot of power. In the meantime, Da Costa went through that attack mode sequence and appeared to be desperate to get past Vandoorne.

Da Costa locked up into the chicane on Lap 25 and fell from third to seventh and effectively ruining his race as by this point he had used up all of his attack modes.

With five pre-established laps to go, the order was Cassidy, Evans, Vandoorne, Wehrlein and Vergne. Soon after, Wehrlein finally went into attack mode.

Laps 27- 31

On lap 27, it became a bit calmer up front as the top four settled in. Werhlein, who had fallen down to seventh, was really struggling to get past his teammate and was told by his team to “hold position”.

Going into Lap 29 it became apparent there would be four more racing laps due to those last under the safety car. Also on Lap 29, after biding his time, bird overtook Jean Eric-Vergne and moved up to fourth. Wehrlein also took another attack mode and dropped back from Da Costa.

Sam Bird got past Vandoorne into Turn 1 on Lap 30 and took a podium position.

Up at the front, Cassidy and Evans were getting racy as the battle for first got serious.

Final Laps: 31- 35

Bird had joined the top two on Lap 31 and it was Cassidy, Evans and then Bird.

On Lap 32, Evans took the lead of the race going into Turn 1. He suffered a big slide but managed to just hold on. During this lead change, Da Costa also overtook Vandoorne for fifth place. Da Costa made another great overtake on Vergne in an attempt to recover from his previous mistake.

Going into the 34th Lap, the Evans, Cassidy, Bird order stood. Evans had only 4% left for his race with 1 and a half laps to go.

On the final lap, Cassidy was looking to overtake for the lead but couldn’t get past. Both Evans and Cassidy had 1% left and it looked like they wouldn’t make it to the line. Further down the field, many drivers had less than 1% energy left.

Evans managed to hold the lead and keep his energy despite having 0.3% left at one point. Across the line, it was Mitch Evans, Nick Cassidy and Sam Bird in First, Second and Third. The first three had less than half a second covering them as they crossed the line.

On his cooldown lap, Evans appeared to break down and was stopped on the track for some time. Many of the other cars were going extremely slowly but Evans did not move. Luckily he got started again and back to the pits, ready to take in his victory.

After the Race

Speaking about his race-ending contact, Jake Dennis spoke about Ticktum calling him a “plonker” and was visibly annoyed. In response, Ticktum said his car just “did not stop” and blamed the surface and said he would go and apologise.

Mitch Evans and Sam Bird looked visibly happy at the post-race interviews and it appeared that there was no bad blood between the teammates. Cassidy seemed disappointed about his narrow miss for first place.

The Results
  1. Mitch Evans
  2. Nick Cassidy
  3. Sam Bird
  4. Antonio Da Costa
  5. Jean Eric Vergne
  6. Stoffel Vandoorne
  7. Pascal Wehrlein
  8. Jake Hughes
  9. Rene Rast
  10. Sebastien Buemi
  11. Maximilian Günther
  12. Andre Lotterer
  13. Lucas Di Grassi
  14. Dan Ticktum
  15. Robin Frijns
  16. Oliver Rowland
  17. Sergio Sette Camara
  18. Nico Muller (Out)
  19. Edoardo Mortara (Ret)
  20. Jake Dennis (Ret)
  21. Sacha Fenestraz (Ret)
  22. Norman Nato (Ret)
Feature Image Credit: Jaguar Racing Media

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