Mitch Evans fended off Nick Cassidy and Sam Bird in an ultra-close Jaguar 1-2-3 in Formula E’s first Sao Paulo race.
The nature of the Brazilian track meant an often bizarre race of drivers trying to avoid leading given the power of the slipstream for conserving energy, with Evans, Cassidy, polesitter Stoffel Vandoorne and Porsche’s Antonio Felix da Costa the main protagonists in the near-constant easy lead swapping.
That also meant a tightly-packed field and a lot of incidents in the traffic behind, prompting two safety car periods.
As the race settled into a more normal rhythm later on, Evans and Cassidy managed to break clear.
But Bird, who had significantly more energy saved, was rapidly closing in. He had surged forward from 10th place on the grid, where he had been dumped by his five-place penalty for hitting Evans two races ago in Hyderabad. That penalty had been carried forward because Bird couldn’t race in Cape Town following his big qualifying crash.
Works Jaguar driver Evans dived ahead of the customer Envision Jaguar of Cassidy just as Bird appeared on their tails, and then defended mightily through the final laps to secure Jaguar’s first win of the Gen3 era. He beat Cassidy by just 0.284s, with all three covered by 0.507s.
Da Costa dropped away from this group when he skated over the first chicane and fell from third to seventh, though he recovered past the fading DS Penskes of Jean-Eric Vergne and Vandoorne – who rounded out the top six – to take fourth.
Race over for @afelixdacosta ❌
A lock up sees the Porsche driver drop away from the podium positions@juliusbaer #SaoPauloEPrix pic.twitter.com/7wEW3PwQS1
— ABB FIA Formula E World Championship (@FIAFormulaE) March 25, 2023
Championship leader Pascal Wehrlein charged through from 18th on the grid (thanks to both a poor qualifying session and a grid penalty for hitting Sebastien Buemi in Cape Town) to run as high as fourth, despite taking a battering from multiple midfield incidents.
Wehrlein saved both his attack modes until very late and ended up seventh.
But his main pre-race championship rival Jake Dennis non-scored for a third straight race, hit by a dive from Dan Ticktum that then led to his damaged car veering into Wehrlein.
McLaren pair Jake Hughes and Rene Rast were eighth and ninth ahead of Buemi.
Second-row starter Edoardo Mortara broke his Maserati’s front wing on Evans at the first corner and was later punted into the barriers.
Among the many other mid-pack incidents, works Nissan driver Norman Nato’s first-corner exit was the most spectacular as he ran into and over Hughes’s McLaren Nissan.
|Pos||Name||Team||Car||Laps||Laps Led||Total Time||Fastest Lap||Pitstops||Pts|
|1||Mitch Evans||Jaguar TCS Racing||Jaguar I-TYPE 6||35||8||53m25.536s||1m14.258s||0||25|
|2||Nick Cassidy||Envision Racing||Jaguar I-TYPE 6||35||12||+0.284s||1m14.174s||0||18|
|3||Sam Bird||Jaguar TCS Racing||Jaguar I-TYPE 6||35||0||+0.507s||1m13.684s||0||16|
|4||António Félix da Costa||TAG Heuer Porsche||Porsche 99X Electric||35||3||+3.487s||1m14.007s||0||12|
|5||Jean-Eric Vergne||DS Penske||DS E-Tense FE23||35||0||+4.042s||1m14.207s||0||10|
|6||Stoffel Vandoorne||DS Penske||DS E-Tense FE23||35||12||+4.576s||1m14.095s||0||11|
|7||Pascal Wehrlein||TAG Heuer Porsche||Porsche 99X Electric||35||0||+5.659s||1m14.347s||0||6|
|8||Jake Hughes||NEOM McLaren||Nissan e-4ORCE 04||35||0||+6.141s||1m14.13s||0||4|
|9||René Rast||NEOM McLaren||Nissan e-4ORCE 04||35||0||+7.403s||1m14.244s||0||2|
|10||Sébastien Buemi||Envision Racing||Jaguar I-TYPE 6||35||0||+7.976s||1m13.771s||0||1|
|11||Maximilian Günther||Maserati MSG Racing||Maserati Tipo Folgore||35||0||+15.192s||1m13.995s||0||0|
|12||André Lotterer||Avalanche Andretti||Porsche 99X Electric||35||0||+15.345s||1m13.922s||0||0|
|13||Lucas Di Grassi||Mahindra Racing||Mahindra M9Electro||35||0||+19.247s||1m14.073s||0||0|
|14||Daniel Ticktum||NIO 333 Racing||NIO 333 ER9||35||0||+19.398s||1m14.374s||0||0|
|15||Robin Frijns||ABT CUPRA||Mahindra M9Electro||35||0||+20.751s||1m14.799s||0||0|
|16||Oliver Rowland||Mahindra Racing||Mahindra M9Electro||35||0||+26.465s||1m14.591s||0||0|
|17||Sérgio Sette Câmara||NIO 333 Racing||NIO 333 ER9||35||0||+31.514s||1m15.433s||0||0|
|Nico Müller||ABT CUPRA||Mahindra M9Electro||19||0||DNF||1m16.99s||0||0|
|Edoardo Mortara||Maserati MSG Racing||Maserati Tipo Folgore||19||0||DNF||1m16.891s||0||0|
|Jake Dennis||Avalanche Andretti||Porsche 99X Electric||13||0||DNF||1m16.435s||0||0|
|Sacha Fenestraz||Nissan||Nissan e-4ORCE 04||6||0||DNF||1m16.954s||0||0|
|Norman Nato||Nissan||Nissan e-4ORCE 04||0||0||DNF||0s||0||0|