The inaugural Santiago ePrix in Chile saw Mahindra Racing come back from what was not the best qualifying session for the team. A dusty and slippery track did not play to the team’s strength in terms of the cars’ qualifying setups.
A first lap incident saw Nick Heidfeld pit almost immediately to switch cars and continue his race. Unfortunately, with one car out of action, he was forced to retire at the time he would normally come in for his pitstop.
In his own unique fashion, Felix Rosenqvist began his charge up the order almost immediately. He pulled himself up into the points, and after a lightning fast pitstop (due to minimum pitstop times being abolished by the FIA), he exited the pitlane 5th and looked like he was ready to take the fight all the way to the finish. In a hard fighting field of drivers, he spent the last few laps behind the Renault of Sebastian Buemi, and the former Formula E Champion did his best to successfully keep Felix at bay. Bearing in mind the greater need of the hour, Felix held back a little bit in order to play it safe, finish 4th, and bring home the maximum points he could, without putting himself in jeopardy.
Mahindra Racing is still solid in the hunt for both championships, and with 87 points are currently in 2ndplace in the championship, only 2 points behind new leaders Techeetah. With a tally of 66 points, Felix is now in 2nd place, 5 points behind Techeetah driver Jean-Eric Vergne. Nick is in 7th place with 21 points.
Mahindra Team Principal & CEO Dilbagh Gill said:
“It was a challenging day for Mahindra, we didn’t maximize the qualifying, but we knew that our race pace was good. Felix did make it up to one better than the position we predicted and finished 4th. Very unfortunate for Nick, he got caught up in the first lap melee, and it was not entirely his fault. Overall, we didn’t maximise our positions in Chile, but we were able to drive from the back to the front.”
“Obviously, very disappointed to not finish the race. After the start, I did make some space on the outside, I saw a gap in turn 4, but in hindsight, I might have been too optimistic. I didn’t make it entirely alongside the other car and he turned in, though he was not in the wrong. It’s one of those days where you see a gap, go for it gap and it’s a split-second decision, which can lead to a mistake.”
“I have to say, a very difficult race, I had to save a lot of energy and my temperatures were really high. After a great pitstop, I managed to get back out in 5th place. I had some fabulous pace after that, and tried to close the gap, but as I got closer, there was a lot of defending from the cars in front of me, and I couldn’t get ahead. While I was ready for any opportunities that came my way, I thought of the championship and decided not to take any further unnecessary risks. Incredible day though, from P14 to P4, good points, and that’s how we work towards winning the championship.”
Here are some 📷 from the first ever #SantiagoEPrix. We experienced some highs and some lows, gaining 12 points in the end thanks to a fourth-placed finish from @FRosenqvist. #passioneering pic.twitter.com/bqgPH41o5U
— Mahindra Racing (@MahindraRacing) February 6, 2018