Felix Rosenqvist looked on course for another set of Formula E points in a thrilling Mexico City ePrix, but was ultimately forced to retire with just two laps to go amid a frantic conclusion to the race.
Rosenqvist started from eighth on the grid in his Mahindra Racing M3Electro, and ran sixth in the early stages. Comfortably able to keep up with the leaders while conserving more energy, Rosenqvist appeared to be a dark horse in the battle for podium positions before the compulsory pit stop, although he eventually opted to readjust his strategy and pit on the same lap as his rivals.
The second half of the race, which was staged on parts of the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez Formula 1 track, proved extremely intense. A myriad of clashes, collisions and incidents brought out several safety cars, repeatedly packing up the field and setting the scene for an exhilarating sprint to the chequered flag.
Unfortunately for Rosenqvist, however, the race would end two laps early, as the Swede became the unlucky victim of a clash up ahead in which Nicolas Prost (FRA) spun the second Mahindra Racing machine of Nick Heidfeld (GER) around in the twisty stadium section. Following close behind, the unsighted Rosenqvist was left with nowhere to go but into the path of his spinning team-mate, crashing out of the event.
Rosenqvist was running eighth at the time of the accident.
“A disappointing day for us,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “I wasn’t very happy with my lap in qualifying, but things were going much better in the race and I have to say I’m massively impressed with the M3Electro’s consistency. We were able to follow everyone and use less energy, and while the race didn’t really pan out in our favour due to all the safety car interventions, we were still up there fighting at the front. In the end, there was a lot of chaos when Prost spun Nick around, and unfortunately I just had nowhere to go. I was launched in the air and it’s obviously a frustrating way to end this incredibly intense race. This was the toughest track for us this season, especially for me in qualifying, but the next one in Monaco should be better suited. I’m looking forward to a better result there.”
Victory in Mexico City landed in the hands of Lucas Di Grassi (BRA), who closed in significantly on championship leader Sébastien Buemi in the overall standings. Felix Rosenqvist now sits sixth, 46 points behind Buemi.
Next up on the Formula E calendar is the Monaco ePrix on May 13. Rosenqvist, however, will be back in action before then as he makes his debut in Japan’s Super Formula series at Suzuka on April 22-23.
RESULTS (top ten)
Mexico City ePrix
Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez
1: Lucas Di Grassi (BRA), 45 laps
2: Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), +1.966s
3: Sam Bird (GBR), +5.480s
4: Mitch Evans (NZL), +9.770s
5: Nicolas Prost (FRA), +9.956s
6: José María López (ARG), +10.631s
7: Daniel Abt (GER), +11.694s
8: Adam Carroll (GBR), +13.722s
9: Nelson Piquet Jr. (BRA), +14.156s
10: Esteban Gutierrez (MEX), +15.717s
DNF: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), +2 laps
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (top five)
FIA Formula E Championship
After 4/12 races
1: Sébastien Buemi (SUI), 76 p.
2: Lucas di Grassi (BRA), 71 p.
3: Nicolas Prost (FRA), 46 p.
4: Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), 40 p.
5: Sam Bird (GBR), 33 p.
6: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), 20 p.