Lucas di Grassi used fan power to take an emotional win in front of a large and passionate crowd that was treated to a fabulous inaugural Mexico City ePrix. However di Grassi was later excluded from the result of the Mexico City ePrix, handing victory to Jerome D’Ambrosio. Di Grassi’s Abt Schaeffler car that he used for the first part of the race, was found to weigh 886.2kg, 1.8kg under the 888kg minimum. As a result Abt has decided not to appeal the decision.
Other penalties also were pushed further down the field and Nico Prost benefit firstly he moved up to third, and then the Renault e.dams driver also gained two more points for setting the Fastest Lap after D’Ambrosio’s best effort was removed for being set while cutting a chicane. Loic Duval remained fourth but was handed a 15-second penalty for repeatedly cutting the chicane and then ignoring the black and white flag he was shown for this offence. Robin Frijns moved to fifth, Sam Bird to sixth, Daniel Abt to seventh, Nick Heidfeld to eighth, Stephane Sarrazin to ninth, and Bruno Senna collected the final point in 10th.
However back to the racing the unique layout of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez – part traditional race track, part street circuit – made overtaking tricky, but not impossible.
Before being relieved of his first place di Grassi said “FanBoost really helped my race, this track is difficult to overtake as you could see. I managed to overtake Nico (Prost) from third to second and then with the help of FanBoost I managed to overtake Jerome (D’Ambrosio) which was not so easy. It was really on the limit for braking for the chicane and the first laps we don’t have regen so the car was all over the place.”
The battle for second was fierce Buemi was recovering from a mistake in qualifying, which left him fifth on the grid rather than the pole position his pace in practice had suggested. He passed di Grassi’s Abt Schaeffler team-mate Daniel Abt early on, and made up a further place in the pitstops when he leap-frogged his Renault e.dams team-mate Prost.
On a number of occasions Buemi was able to get in the slipstream of the Dragon Racing car, but each time D’Ambrosio defended robustly. On one occasion there was even contact as Buemi tagged the back of the Belgian at 200kph as they disputed position. Finally, he did manage to get ahead, but had to cut the first chicane in the process. As Buemi backed off to allow D’Ambrosio to re-pass, it allowed Prost, Abt and the second Dragon of Duval to get into the fight. Eventually, the previous order was restored, but by now di Grassi was almost 10 seconds ahead. The fight for second went all the way to the flag and a photo-finish, with D’Ambrosio crossing the line just ahead!
D’Ambrosio said: “It was really a close call with Seb. We just spoke about it on the podium but I need to see a replay to see what really happened there. One moment we had contact in the first corner and everything went fine. Then he overtook me but cut the first chicane. When he let me by he always lifted in a place I was not going to try to overtake him. Therefore, it created a big mess all around. I think in the end everything played out correctly.”
2016 Mexico City ePrix (Rd 5) – Race results:
1. Lucas di Grassi, Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport, (25)
2. Jerome D’Ambrosio, Dragon Racing, +5.416s (23)
3. Sebastien Buemi, Renault e.dams, +5.522s (15)
4. Loic Duval, Dragon Racing, +16.774s (12)
5. Nico Prost, Renault e.dams, +30.953s (10)
6. Robin Frijns, Andretti Formula E, +33.893s (8)
7. Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing, +34.344s (6)
8. Daniel Abt, Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport, +35.467s (4)
9. Nick Heidfeld, Mahindra Racing, +41.789s (2)
10. Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi, +42.707s (1)
11. Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing, +43.019s
12. Oliver Turvey, NEXTEV TCR, +44.014s
13. Mike Conway, Venturi, +44.206s
14. Nelson Piquet Jr, NEXTEV TCR, +47.767s
15. Simona de Silvestro, Andretti Formula E, +49.387s
16. Salvador Duran, Team Aguri, +1:08.498s
17. Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Virgin Racing, +1 lap
18. Antonio Felix da Costa, Team Aguri, DNF