In Formula E, the most important person to beat is your teammate. Who did just that in Putrajaya? Let’s go through the field and hand out the Team Mate Battle points!
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.
Substitute driver Takuma Sato acquitted himself very well in Beijing, and by setting the fastest lap he prevented the Amlin Aguri team from leaving China without a point. Despite outperforming fan-favourite Katherine Legge, regular driver Antonio Felix da Costa returned to make his debut in Putrajaya. Despite looking evenly matched after practice, neither driver had completed a ‘flying lap’, so it was difficult to draw too many conclusions. Antonio had the qualifying victory with Katherine seemingly unable to find the same pace.
In what seemed like a overly keen attempt to gain ground, Legge tried an ambitious overtake on Michela Cerruti on lap one. It could be that the reduced warm-up procedure caught her out, exposing the cold tyres to a risky braking-and-turning combination too soon and it set her back for the rest of the race. This ‘FanBoost’ assist seems to be nothing but a curse at the moment.
Da Costa, meanwhile, had a quiet but competent race, staying out of trouble and securing Amlin Aguri’s first top ten finish of the season.
Fastest lap: Antonio Felix da Costa (1-0 to Antonio Felix da Costa)
Qualifying: Antonio Felix da Costa (3-0 to Antonio Felix da Costa)
Race: Antonio Felix da Costa (5-0 to Antonio Felix da Costa)
Amlin Aguri: 9-0 to Antonio Felix da Costa vs Katherine Legge
Amlin Aguri: 9-0 to Takuma Sato vs Katherine Legge
Amlin Aguri: 18-0 to Felix da Costa/Sato
Andretti Formula E:
One of the surprise drivers of Beijing was Franck Montagny, with his strong overtaking earning him many plaudits. In Putrajaya, however, he appeared to be doing his best to go from hero to villain.
Montagny had some ground to make up after being out-qualified by debutant Matthew Brabham, who was substituting for Charles Pic who was away on reserve driver duties with the Lotus F1 Team. Brabham was initially racing in the top ten before making contact with Nick Heidfeld and dropping down the order, leaving Montagny as the main points-charger for Andretti.
Unfortunately, the Frenchman also decided to have a pop at Heidfeld, attempting an audacious pass on the inside of turn five, colliding with the Venturi pilot, and ruining Heidfeld’s race. Not long after that, he clipped the right-hand side of Bruno Senna’s car whilst trying to pass a sideways Nelson Piquet. Finally, he received a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane, sending him well out of the points positions.
With Brabham also tangling with Senna prior to the pit stops, it was a question of who was less of an annoyance during the race. The race points go to Brabham for not being as much of a nuisance and for having very respectable pace for his first race, just a tenth shy of Montagny’s fastest lap.
Fastest lap: Franck Montagny (1-0 to Franck Montagny)
Qualifying: Matthew Brabham (3-0 to Matthew Brabham)
Race: Matthew Brabham (5-0 to Matthew Brabham)
Andretti Formula E: 9-0 to Franck Montagny vs Charles Pic
Andretti Formula E: 8-1 to Matthew Brabham vs Franck Montagny
Andretti Formula E: 10-9 to Franck Montagny
Audi Sport Abt:
Enjoying a trouble-free race, Lucas di Grassi completed a brilliant recovery drive from 18th to finish second to Sam Bird and stay at the top of the driver’s championship standings. In a season where we appear to not have clear title favourites, di Grassi appears to be throwing his name into the hat after two strong drives so far. Despite being helped out a little by an efficient pit crew, if this drive was completed by somebody with one championship title to their name, they would receive many plaudits for “driving like a champion”, but who knows how well he could’ve done in Putrajaya had he not made a mistake in qualifying?
Daniel Abt had a very unique race. “Technical issues” dropped him from the front row to last at the start of the race, with the Abt team then gambling on, by comparison, a ridiculously early pit stop. The second safety car allowed them to reduce the pit time loss and take the lead when everybody else made their stops. It was a valiant effort, but Abt was forced to crawl around 4-5 seconds off the pace to conserve his battery, and was defenceless when the field caught up. He fell to outside the points but inherited 10th place after Senna’s final lap accident. Race points go to di Grassi this time for his recovery drive and the fact he may well have ended up racing with his team-mate anyway.
It’ll certainly be worth watching to see if anybody else tries this tactic again, but what would be even more interesting is when we get to a point where there’s a toss-up between competing in a race without pitting, at the risk of being 1-2 seconds per lap slower, or doing a traditional one-stopper and being able to gun it with both cars. We’re probably a little while away from that yet, but it’s certainly food for future thought.
Fastest Lap: Lucas di Grassi (1-1)
Qualifying: Daniel Abt (3-3)
Race: Lucas Di Grassi (10-0 to Lucas Di Grassi)
Audi Sport Abt: 14-4 to Lucas Di Grassi
This is starting to look like a very one-sided affair at China Racing. Nelson Piquet was on a mission after the round of pit stops, battling with Jarno Trulli for third place (a net second place due to the slow Daniel Abt). Piquet was unfortunate to be squeezed out by Trulli on approach to turn one, as the Italian was not far away from taking a drive-through penalty. Regardless, the damage put Piquet out a race which could’ve promoted him to third place in the driver’s championship.
By comparison, Ho-Pin Tung was no where to be seen in this race, only really finishing as high as eleventh through staying largely out of trouble. He set the slowest fastest lap of those who finished the race and was out-qualified by his team-mate by 1.3 seconds. Complete domination so far for Piquet.
Race points go to Piquet because he retired from the race in a strong position through no fault of his own.
Fastest Lap: Nelson Piquet Jr. (2-0 to Nelson Piquet Jr.)
Qualifying: Nelson Piquet Jr. (6-0 to Nelson Piquet Jr.)
Race: Nelson Piquet Jr. (10-0 to Nelson Piquet Jr.)
China Racing: 18-0 to Nelson Piquet Jr.
The Dragon Racing team will probably look back at this race as a missed opportunity. Both Jerome D’Ambrosio and Oriol Servia were strong in practice and looked to have locked out the front row in qualifying. D’Ambrosio though was disqualified and started from the back of the grid for exceeding the maximum power output.
Servia started on pole position but was behind Sam Bird within two racing laps, he then proved something of a mobile chicane for the front-runners as he was eventually negotiated down to seventh at the chequered flag, even being passed by his team-mate. D’Ambrosio recovered well to finish in fifth but a couple of mid-points finishes are likely to be seen as not good enough from a team who were temporarily starting the race in 1-2 formation.
Servia gets the qualifying points but D’Ambrosio secures the race points for a solid recovery drive from the back of the grid.
Fastest Lap: Jerome D’Ambrosio (2-0 to Jerome D’Ambrosio)
Qualifying: Oriol Servia (6-0 to Oriol Servia)
Race: Jerome D’Ambrosio (10-0 to Jerome D’Ambrosio)
Dragon Racing: 10-6 to Jerome D’Ambrosio
After leaving Beijing with only three points and a 10-place grid drop for Prost, a big effort was required from the e.dams-Renault team in order to re-establish themselves as one of Formula E’s front-runners, having performed well in pre-season testing. After practice, they appeared to be gearing up to kick-start their season, but whilst Nicolas Prost made the best of a bad situation by taking pole position, Sebastian Buemi simply didn’t put a lap together and lined up 19th on the grid. Prost did the best he could with a penalty looming over him, his pole position translated into 11th on the grid after his grid penalty.
The recovery drive was on though and Buemi wasted little time in catching up to his team-mate and racing in the same group of cars. The biggest gain, however, was made in the pit stops as both drivers stayed out a lap more than most, profiting by re-emerging in 6th and 7th. Prost was leading the e.dams race before a mistake just after the pit stops promoted Buemi to lead car. The elimination of Piquet and Trulli gave Buemi and Prost 4th and 5th respectively before they both dispatched of the crawling Daniel Abt, handing Buemi third place. A late charge by Senna was not enough to knock Buemi off the podium and the Swiss pilot gave his team their first podium of the year, with Prost finishing just behind in fourth.
Prost managed to finish ahead in qualifying despite a 10-place grid drop, whilst Buemi’s charge to third gives him the race points.
Fastest Lap: Sebastien Buemi (2-0 to Sebastien Buemi)
Qualifying: Nicolas Prost (6-0 to Nicolas Prost)
Race: Sebastian Buemi (5-5)
e.Dams Renault: 14-7 to Nicolas Prost
The boys at Mahindra racing seemed to experience different kinds of races in Putrajaya. For Karun Chandhok, he made quiet progress up the field, including a lovely pass on Oriol Servia, running as high as third before losing out horrendously during the pit stop phase, falling from third to tenth.
Bruno Senna on the other hand had a wild race. He survived a run-in with Franck Montagny early on, clipped the wall at turn two, tangled with Matthew Brabham and drove until his pit stop with an ill-handling car and made a sensational charge up to fourth place before crashing at turn nine and ending his race with three corners to go….and breathe.
Senna’s post-pit stop race pace was very good, but because he wasn’t able to bring the car home (and it was ultimately his error) then the race points will go to Chandhok for earning a handful of points after the delayed pit stop.
Will Chandhok’s consistency lead to better things later this season? It’s certainly winning the team-mate so far.
Fastest Lap: Bruno Senna (1-1)
Qualifying: Karun Chandhok (6-0 to Karun Chandhok)
Race: Karun Chandhok (10-0 to Karun Chandhok)
Mahindra Racing: (17-1 to Karun Chandhok)
It was a shame for there to be only one team to leave Beijing without a point, but unfortunately the Trulli team propped up the table heading in to round two. There was much promise as team leader Jarno Trulli ran in the top ten all weekend, qualifying sixth but started fourth after penalties were applied.
Getting the jump on the unfortunate Daniel Abt at the start, Trulli initially ran in third before passing the descending Servia after the safety car restart to move up to second. His pace looked consistent enough to be able to maintain a podium challenge, but for his clumsy defensive positioning against the charging Nelson Piquet. This incident and a penalty before his race retirement put him out of contention for points.
Cerruti faired even worse. She was taken out by Katherine Legge after half a lap and, whilst she was able to continue, struggled from there before retiring only a few laps later.
After the practice session, it only really looked like one-way traffic regarding this round’s team-mate honours. Jarno was more convincing in Malaysia than he was in China, and enjoyed a dominant performance over his team-mate.
Fastest Lap: Jarno Trulli (1-1)
Qualifying: Jarno Trulli (3-3)
Race: Jarno Trulli (5-5)
Given Stephane Sarrazin’s ability to adapt to most forms of motor racing, it’s a little surprising to see that he’s so far off the pace of team-mate Nick Heidfeld. The Frenchman has raced in single-seaters (including Formula One), rallying and endurance racing, and yet he finds himself struggling with the new series.
Nick Heidfeld was well into the top ten when he taken out by Montagny, hardly having a chance to make progress. Sarrazin, by comparison, had a fairly anonymous race, but managed to make a bit of head way before he developed a problem which reduced his power output, dropping him from seventh on lap 15.
It was a comfortable race for Heidfeld with respect to his team-mate battle, only prevented from a second clean sweep by not being in the race long enough to set faster lap times. Heidfeld gets the race points for running ahead before his elimination.
Fastest Lap: Stephane Sarrazin (1-1)
Qualifying: Nick Heidfeld (6-0 to Nick Heidfeld)
Race: Nick Heidfeld (10-0 to Nick Heidfeld)
Venturi: 17-1 to Nick Heidfeld
What a day for Sam Bird. A front-runner throughout the event and converted his inherited front row start into one of the standout performances of the championship so far. Would he have been so dominant with the likes of Prost, Buemi, di Grassi and D’Ambrosio for company? That can only be hypothesised, but the plaudits certainly belong to Bird and Virgin Racing for being quick and not making the same mistakes as their rivals. Bird controlled his pace beautifully, and made himself even more comfortable by staying out longer than anyone else in his first stint, meaning that anybody behind was to spring a surprise, Bird would more than likely have been able to respond.
Jaime Alguersuari on the other hand was made to recover from a qualifying mistake which saw him start the race in 17th. Whilst it was a half-decent recovery for a couple of points, he wasn’t able to make the same progress as di Grassi, Buemi or D’Ambrosio. Despite that, he secured the fastest lap of the race just after the pit stops, worth an extra two championship points.
Sam Bird will certainly be hoping to capitalise on his early progress this year, in a season where consistency could prove to be vital in what’s becoming a chaotic racing series.
Fastest Lap: Jaime Alguersuari (1-1)
Qualifying: Sam Bird (3-3)
Race: Sam Bird (10-0 to Sam Bird)
Virgin Racing: 14-4 to Sam Bird