In Formula E, the most important person to beat is your teammate. Who did just that in Punta del Este? Let’s go through the field and hand out the Team Mate Battle points!
These are the rules to which the drivers are being judged.
1 point is awarded to the driver who sets the faster race lap.
3 points are awarded to the driver who performs best in qualifying.
5 points are awarded to the driver who performs best during the race.
Before the race, it looked like a promising day for the Amlin Aguri team. Antonio Felix da Costa, despite qualifying 13th had looked competitive all weekend whilst Salvador Duran – drafted in to replace the busy Katherine Legge – managed to win a FanBoost allocation despite only being confirmed three days earlier (do the substitute drivers keep their predecessors votes?).
It would however turn into a rewardless race for the team, with Felix da Costa retiring with steering trouble early (possibly as a result of the impact with the wall in the earlier qualifying) and Duran was in and out of the pits with various technical difficulties, eventually finishing the race four laps down.
It was always going to be a tough baptism for Duran; little experience and against a quick team-mate. Unfortunately for him he was slower than his colleague all day, only setting a faster race lap because he was out there for longer in clear air. Race points go to Felix da Costa because he was significantly ahead at the time of his race retirement.
Fastest Lap: Salvador Duran (1-0 to Duran)
Qualifying: Felix da Costa (3-0 to Felix da Costa)
Race: Felix da Costa (5-0 to Felix da Costa)
Race 1: Takuma Sato 9-0 Katherine Legge
Race 2: Antonio Felix da Costa 9-0 Katherine Legge
Race 3: Antonio Felix da Costa 8-1 Salvador Duran
Amlin Aguri: 26-1 to Felix da Costa/Sato
Andretti Formula E:
What an impact Jean-Eric Vergne has made on Formula E! The ex-Toro Rosso driver gradually made progress over the practice sessions and built up to complete a perfect job in qualifying, beating Nelson Piquet by one tenth of a second. What’s more impressive is that he set that time in the very first qualifying group, which is believed to be the session with the least grip owing to a ‘greener’ track. Unfortunately Matthew Brabham was unable to show how much he had learned from his new ex-F1 team-mate in qualifying, an incident in qualifying put him to the back of the grid.
Vergne lost out at the start by being on the side of the grid which was hindered with reduced grip levels – as several drivers learned at the start – but was relentless in his pursuit of the lead, eventually managing to pass leader Nelson Piquet before the first stops. Unfortunately for Vergne, he ended up in second once again after the stops, losing out to Sebastien Buemi. After the final safety car came in (deployed to recover his team-mate’s damaged car), he set about attacking Buemi for the lead with two laps to go, but a final lap showdown was denied when he pulled off the track with suspension damage. It was very nearly a perfect debut in his first day of driving a Formula E car.
Brabham was equally as impressive in his charge up the field during the race. He worked his way up to challenging Jarno Trulli for fifth place, but signs of frustration were becoming clear as he jinked and diving around in order to find a way through. This eventually lead to a mistake at one of the fast chicanes, putting him out of the race with four laps to go. It may have been completely his fault, but all thoughts of blame disappeared when it became clear how distraught he was at throwing away a big points score. It was easy to forget that, as reserve driver, Brabham may not get another chance to race again this year.
Despite Brabham’s efforts, it was a clean sweep for the thoroughly impressive Vergne.
Fastest Lap: Jean-Eric Vergne (1-0 to Vergne)
Qualifying: Jean-Eric Vergne (3-0 to Vergne)
Race: Jean-Eric Vergne (5-0 to Vergne)
Race 1: Franck Montagny 9-0 Charles Pic
Race 2: Franck Montagny 1-8 Matthew Brabham
Race 3: Matthew Brabham 0-9 Jean-Eric Vergne
Note: Due to the inconsistent and complex drivers swaps (e.g. Matthew Brabham has been a substitute for both sides of the garage), the total Andretti scores will recommence once a permanent line-up has been established.
Audi Sport Abt:
Lucas di Grassi’s Championship challenge has been given a huge boost after Punta del Este. He’s the only driver to have a 100% podium record so far this year and his nearest challengers (Sam Bird) was eliminated from the race on lap four. He’s also developed a knack for staying out of trouble and ghosting his way to the front, made evident by his rise from sixth on the grid to a third place finish.
Conversely, we now have the tale of Daniel Abt. He’s had a luckless start to the season, plagued by start-line problems and poor reliability, his races are typically over moments after they’ve begun. It seems unjust considering that he has been close to the pace of his team-mate. Technical issues hampered his race early on and was left to fight for a fastest lap consolation prize, which he won by around four tenths of a second, earning him two points for his efforts.
It will certainly be worth seeing if lady luck will switch garages at some point this season, but we can’t take away the fact that it was another solid drive from di Grassi, who has earned himself the qualifying and race points this time round.
Fastest Lap: Daniel Abt (2-1 to Abt)
Qualifying: Lucas di Grassi (6-3 to di Grassi)
Race: Lucas di Grassi (15-0 to di Grassi)
Audi Sport Abt: 22-4 to di Grassi
You can’t help but think that the China Racing team wouldn’t have been that disappointed to learn that regular driver Ho-Pin Tung had other commitments and was unavailable to drive for them in Uruguay. He’s been woefully out-performed by Nelson Piquet, almost turning them into a one-man team. This vacancy allowed them to put the slightly-better-known Antonio Garcia in the second seat, hopefully as a better rear-gunner for Piquet.
As it turns out he did fare better. He had a couple of scrappy moments in practice which required a couple of new rear wings, but his pace suggested he may have an outside chance of points, as it turns out he was narrowly pipped to 10th place by a recovering Heidfeld.
Despite his efforts, it was always going to be a tall order to instantly match the pace of his team-mate. Piquet was one of the quickest drivers of the day; he started on the front row and lead the race into turn one, holding the lead until just before the pit stops. Despite falling to third after the stops, he never looked like losing a podium place and was eventually promoted to second after Vergne’s retirement. A very accomplished drive from a driver who was unfortunate not to make the podium last time out (after being taken out by some very defensive driving from Jarno Trulli). Piquet still easily gets the points this time, but it was a much better ‘team’ performance from the China Racing squad.
Fastest Lap: Nelson Piquet Jr. (3-0 to Piquet Jr.)
Qualifying: Nelson Piquet Jr. (9-0 to Piquet Jr.)
Race: Nelson Piquet Jr. (15-0 to Piquet Jr.)
China Racing: 27-0 to Piquet Jr.
Dragon Racing’s solid start to the season continued in Punta del Este by picking up a further six points, courtesy of an eighth and ninth place finish.
Jerome D’Ambrosio was once again forced to carve his way through the grid after starting towards the back of the field but – unlike Putrajaya – this was his own fault after he clipped the wall early in the session. However, in a similar fashion to Putrajaya, the Belgian driver was on course to complete a great recovery drive and ran in fifth place before falling foul of the minimum pit stop time rule, demoting him to the lower points-paying positions.
Oriol Servia did manage to complete his qualifying, starting the race in 12th, but was unable to run at a similar pace to his team-mate, but ran anonymously enough to benefit from the misfortunes of those around him.
The race points go to D’Ambrosio for finishing ahead of his team-mate despite the mid-race penalty.
Fastest Lap: Jerome D’Ambrosio (3-0 to D’Ambrosio)
Qualifying: Oriol Servia (6-3 to D’Ambrosio)
Race: Jerome D’Ambrosio (15-0 to D’Ambrosio)
Dragon Racing: 24-3 to D’Ambrosio
The duel of the e.dams drivers is shaping up to be one of the closest team-mate battles this season. After Prost surprised most of the spectators by being more than a match for Sebastien Buemi, considered one of the pre-season favourites.
Buemi was narrowly edged out in qualifying by little over one tenth, but the one-place grid advantage held by Prost was eradicated almost immediately when Buemi managed a better start, leading an e.dams 3-4 into the first chicane.
From there, the Swiss pilot held the advantage and was able to jump ahead of race rival Jean-Eric Vergne in the pit stop phase. After Heidfeld served his penalty, Buemi was able to lead the charge up front. It can only be theorised whether Vergne would’ve been able to overtake in the final lap, or whether Buemi would’ve been handed a penalty for his chicane-skipping on the penultimate lap. In the case of the team-mate battles, however, it’s hard to argue with a race victory, so Buemi gets the race points.
Fastest Lap: Sebastien Buemi (3-0 to Buemi)
Qualifying: Nicolas Prost (9-0 to Prost)
Race: Sebastien Buemi (10-5 to Buemi)
e.dams-Renault: 14-13 to Prost
Bruno Senna is certainly making a habit out of fortunately timed pit-stops. The Brazilian was caught up in the Stephane Sarrazin incident and damage the rear of his car whilst dabbing the brakes to avoid the stricken Venturi pilot. Much like his incident in Putrajaya, this coincided roughly with the pit stop window, so capitalised on the customary vehicle swap to continue in the running.
It would’ve been an unlucky end after recovering from starting at the back of the grid due to receiving a penalty – his mechanics were still working on the car five minutes prior to qualifying, which is punishable by a cancelation of their respective driver’s qualifying time.
Karun Chandhok managed to qualify in 11th place, but revealed afterwards that damage to his first car over the bumps had hampered his early race pace. This was made evident by his second car, in which he was able to set a time in the 1:18’s, being one of only four drivers to do so.
Senna looked to have the measure of Chandhok for most of the weekend and was never threatened at any point in the race. Race points go to Senna this weekend.
Fastest Lap: Karun Chandhok (2-1 to Chandhok)
Qualifying: Bruno Senna (6-3 to Chandhok)
Race: Bruno Senna (10-5 to Chandhok)
Mahindra Racing: 18-9 to Chandhok
Whilst Jarno Trulli didn’t quite have the same level of pace as he did in Putrajaya, it was a very solid drive to give the TrulliGP team their first points of the season.
Few people were going to pass the Italian. In fact, Sarrazin showed that the only way anybody could pass would be by almost shoving him into the barrier, Matthew Brabham also lost patience sat behind Trulli. The only drivers to finish ahead were the ones who started ahead on the grid and fourth place was enough for the team to climb into eighth place in the Team’s Championship ahead of Amlin Aguri and Venturi.
Michela Cerruti may well have sneaked into the points if it wasn’t for a penalty given for an infringement of the pit lane speed limit, but was forced to settle for 12th place.
Unfortunately Cerruti isn’t really giving any signs that she can compete with her team-mate at the moment, it’s a second consecutive clean-sweep for Trulli.
Fastest Lap: Jarno Trulli (2-1 to Trulli)
Qualifying: Jarno Trulli (6-3 to Trulli)
Race: Jarno Trulli (10-5 to Trulli)
TrulliGP: 18-9 to Trulli
It’s a bit of hard luck story for Venturi and Nick Heidfeld at the moment; after challenging for the lead in the opening race, running solidly in the points in Putrajaya and leading the race in Punta del Este, the team only has three points to show for it. Despite winning a sympathetic FanBoost for round three, Heidfeld’s fortunes didn’t change.
After running solidly in the points in the first part of the race, the German, to the surprise of most people, found himself in the lead after the round of pit stops. It quickly became clear that the Venturi team were a little too quick with their stop and had sent him out again around four seconds too early and were handed a penalty for breaking the minimum pit time. The penalty demoted Heidfeld outside of the top ten.
With the team breaking the time constraint by four seconds, it’s worth wondering how much pit stop practice has been done at the Venturi team. They didn’t break the rule by a split-second, it was four whole seconds. It seems like a fundamental practice to perfect before a race weekend.
Stephane Sarrazin was driving like he had a point to prove, he just about got away with some industrious defensive manoeuvres which brought him into a contest for some major points, but an accident at one of the fast chicanes ended his combative race early. A faster race lap suggests that there has been some improvements from the Frenchman, but Nick Heidfeld was the quicker man overall in Punta del Este and gets the race points this time.
Fastest Lap: Stephane Sarrazin (2-1 to Sarrazin)
Qualifying: Nick Heidfeld (9-0 to Heidfeld)
Race: Nick Heidfeld (15-0 to Heidfeld)
Venturi: 25-2 to Heidfeld
What a way to come crashing back down to earth for Sam Bird. After looking like one of the serious championship contenders in Putrajaya and winning with such a flourish, he suffered by far his worst weekend to date. A crash in qualifying mean’t he had everything to do when it came to the race, tasked with charging through the field and scoring a hatful of points. Instead, an error at the first chicane within the first five laps sent him into the barrier on the exit of the corner, undone by launchpad bump on the apex of the corner.
Whilst he is by no means out of the championship hunt yet, he’s lost a huge amount of points to the ever-consistent Lucas di Grassi.
Jaime Alguersuari on the other hand had one of his best days so far. He looked competitive in the early practice sessions – even topping the time sheets in practice two – and qualifying and finishing in fifth place. He may be a little disappointed not to stay ahead of a couple of drivers and challenge for a podium, but it’s a solid response to your team-mate dominating the previous race. It’s a clean sweep for Alguersuari in Punta del Este.
Fastest Lap: Jaime Alguersuari (2-1 to Alguersuari)
Qualifying: Jaime Alguersuari (6-3 to Alguersuari)
Race: Jaime Alguersuari (10-5 to Sam Bird)
Virgin Racing: 14-13 to Sam Bird