Cometh the hour, cometh the man: Vergne wins Hyderabad E-prix

Motorsports, slowly but steadily, is setting foot in India once again following the controversial exit of Formula 1 a decade ago. The arrival of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is a big step towards the right direction.

nissan formula e

DS Penske’s Jean-Eric Vergne was crowned the winner of the inaugural Hyderabad E-prix as Envision’s Nick Cassidy and Tag Heuer Porche’s Antonio Felix Da Costa completed the podium for round 4 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.

The Frenchman, despite having just 2 percent of usable energy at his disposal during the last lap, was able to put up a defensive masterclass to keep the Envision Racing boys, Nick Cassidy and Sebastian Buemi at bay. However, Felix Da Costa was promoted to the last spot on the podium after the Swiss was penalised post-race.

Vergne, who tasted victory for the first time since Rome, season 7, had an astonishing weekend overall as he was only bested by Jaguar’s Mitch Evans by close margin during the qualifying.

A day to forget for Jaguar TCS 

The 32-year-old took the lead during lap 15, moments after Jaguar TCS Racing’s ‘second home’ race turned into a disaster as Sam Bird, in an attempt to make a move on Nissan’s Sacha Fenestraz for the fourth position, ran into his own teammate, Evans, taking both the Jaguars out. 

Fenestraz and Maserati’s Maximilian Guenther’s races were also compromised as part of this multi-car crash. Furthermore, McLaren also had a day to forget with both drivers among the six who didn’t finish the race.

Mahindra Racing celebrate points at home

Mahindra Racing, on the other hand, ended their first home race with points for both drivers as Oliver Rowland climbed up the order and was close to a podium finish before being slapped with a four-second penalty for a track limit violation that ultimately pushed him to P6 at the flag. Lucas Di Grassi finished at P14, following a five-second penalty. 

Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein extends lead

Championship leader Pascal Wehrlein, who had a dismal start to the weekend with a crash on Friday and a penalty that dropped him to P12 on the starting grid, went on to cement his claim on the title as he finished at fourth, meanwhile extending his lead at the top with 18 points.

Avalanche Andretti’s Jake Dennis sits second in the drivers’ championship with 62 points. Vergne, with this win, occupies the third spot, tied on 31 points with fourth-placed Buemi.

What’s next for India?

It will be safe to say that motorsports, slowly but steadily, is setting foot in India once again following the controversial exit of Formula 1 a decade ago. The arrival of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is a big step towards the right direction.

If plans materialise, India will be hosting its first-ever MotoGP race later this year, which is awaiting some final nods. That being said, it’s an open secret now that motorsports, finally, seems to be accepted as ‘sports’ in India; meaning no ‘entertainment’ tax. FIA, on the other hand, has been actively extending their calendar with new cities being added to the list. The 2023 Formula 1 season is going to be the longest-ever season with 23 races scheduled across the year. 

Too early to think about it now but if things go well, like the case has been in Hyderabad, the BIC, India’s only F1-spec track, will soon again echo with the sound of F1 car exhausts. 

Also Read: Hyundai Ioniq 5 vs Mini Cooper SE: Ioniq vs Iconic EVs comparison!

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First published on: 13-02-2023 at 15:24 IST
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