Felix Rosenqvist was forced to see yet another Formula E race slip through his fingers after clashing with championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne in Sunday’s Zürich E-Prix.
Rosenqvist was running comfortably in the points in the early stages of Switzerland’s first motor race in 64 years, holding eighth place on lap 17 out of 39.
Heading into Turn 1 on that same tour, however, the Swede came under attack from Techeetah driver Vergne, who went for a surprise late dive down the inside of Rosenqvist’s Mahindra – resulting in contact.
While Vergne continued unscathed, Rosenqvist was sent banging into the barriers, losing about half a minute before he managed to carry on (although with a heavily damaged nose section).
With his car now in a poor condition, Rosenqvist headed for the pits to change into his second Mahindra M4Electro. His misfortune continued, however, as just one lap later a Full Course Yellow was called that allowed everybody else to pit under caution.
Rosenqvist – who had started the race from tenth after being disadvantaged by running in the first group in qualifying – thus dropped down the order, eventually finishing a disappointed 15th a lap down on the leaders.
There was a silver lining in terms of pace, however, with Rosenqvist setting the second-fastest lap of the race and topping the second free practice session earlier in the day.
The historic event in Zürich, which marked the first motor race on Swiss soil since the 1955 ban, was won by Audi’s Lucas di Grassi.
“I think it was a good day to start with, topping practice with a very balanced car that felt consistent to drive,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “Being in group one in qualifying, however, cost us dearly today as the track improved quite a lot later on.
“We still managed to get a decent starting position but then the incident with JEV (Jean-Eric Vergne) effectively ruined our race. I didn’t feel like he accepted me letting him past and suddenly I had to take evasive action. I ended up in the barriers while he carried on unscathed, which I think was a bit unfair. A difficult one again, but complements to Formula E for putting on a great event this weekend.”
Due to today’s result, Rosenqvist is now mathematically out of Formula E title contention, slipping to fifth in the drivers’ standings.
The 2017-18 ABB FIA Formula E Championship finale takes place in New York on July 14-15, with two races scheduled to be run in the American metropolis as the season draws to a close. New York first hosted a Formula E event last year, with Felix Rosenqvist clinching a podium in front of the dramatic Manhattan skyline.
Before then, however, Rosenqvist will be out on Super GT duty at Thailand’s Buriram circuit on June 30-July 1.
RESULTS (top five)
ABB FIA Formula E Championship
Race 10/12 | Zürich E-Prix
1: Lucas di Grassi (BRA), 39 laps
2: Sam Bird (GBR), +7.542s
3: Jérôme d’Ambrosio (BEL), +16.822s
4: André Lotterer (GER), +20.295s
5: Sébastien Buemi (CHE), +26.692s
15: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), +1 lap
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (top five)
After 10/12 races
1: Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), 163 p.
2: Sam Bird (GBR), 140 p.
3: Lucas di Grassi (BRA), 101 p.
4: Sébastien Buemi (CHE), 92 p.
5: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), 86 p.