Hong Kong ePrix – The NextEV team could only convert their impressive qualifying performance into a handful of points after a difficult race in Hong Kong.
Despite starting on pole position and leading the first third of the race, Nelson Piquet was caught out by the stricken DS Virgin Racing car belonging to Jose Maria Lopez, which had crashed into the barrier on the exit of turn four.
Although undamaged, Piquet lost ground as the safety car was deployed. A pit stop just after the safety car period put the season one champion further back as he ultimately ended up outside the points.
Speaking after the race, Piquet was able to take the positives from the event, but highlighted the need for work on their race strategies going forward.
“It was obviously a mixed day for us,” conceded Piquet. “The qualifying result was great for both Oliver and myself, but the race result is disappointing. The start went well and I was able to create a good gap but then I had nowhere to go to avoid Lopez – it could have happened to anyone though. We were all bunched up under the safety car and we simply made the pitstop on the wrong lap.
“For us, we have to concentrate on working on maximising what we can get out of the car and strategy. I think looking forward to Marrakech we will qualify well and we just have to work hard to prepare for the race as a team. The whole team has been working so hard, and we are going to keep pushing.”
Whilst Oliver Turvey suffered a similar fate during the safety car period, he was able to recover to score four points for finishing the race in eighth place, but highlighted the need for better efficiency in future races.
“NextEV have put a huge effort into the car and it felt great to nail my qualifying lap and be on the front row. We clearly have good pace in qualifying, which is encouraging, but we need to look at our efficiency and how we can save more energy over the race. We have both come away with points from this race, which is a positive start. Now we must work on building on the points in Marrakech.”
NextEV occupy fifth place in the teams’ championship at this early stage in the season, with Piquet taking three points for securing pole position and Turvey earning four points for his eighth place finish.