The first two rounds of the 2017/18 Formula E championship took place this weekend with drama unfolding throughout the two days of action. On the first day of running on Saturday, Jean-Eric Vergne claimed the first pole position of the season. He held off Sam Bird in the Super Pole shootout, with Nick Heidfeld just behind. The top three were separated by less than three-hundredths of a second.
As the lights went out for the first race of the season, Vergne kept his lead into the first corner. While everyone was relatively well behaved in the first three corners, Andre Lotterer caused a traffic jam at Turn 4 when he stuck it in the wall.
Five cars were involved in the incident, which brought out a red flag while the track was cleared. Thirty minutes later the race began once again, with Vergne leading the way from Bird in second and Oliver Turvey in third place.
Old foes Lucas di Grassi and Sebastian Buemi made contact once again as Buemi attempted to overtake the current series champion at Turn 2. The two got away without damage, but behind, Felix Rosenqvist was turned around by Luca Filippi.
Turvey then had an issue with his car, meaning he lost a number of positions after previously holding a spot on the podium. As the race entered its pit stop phase, Bird managed to overtake Vergne for the lead of the race, mere laps before they were both due in the garage to swap cars.
However, as Bird came into the pitlane to jump into his second car, he misjudged his braking zone and failed to enter the garage, meaning he had to leave his car stranded in the pitlane. Bird received a drive-through penalty, which looked certain to take his lead away.
However, such was the pace of the Briton in the DS Virgin car, that when he served his penalty, he emerged in front of Vergne and Heidfeld, retaining his lead in the race. Vergne held off Heidfeld to stay second, while Heidfeld had to settle for third.
Bird received a ten-place grid penalty for his collision in the pitlane on Saturday, meaning he was demoted to fourteenth after his Super Pole fight. Rosenqvist secured pole position while Edoardo Mortara, in only his second Formula E event, claimed second after Mitch Evans was disqualified from Super Pole.
The race started under the safety car as the starting lights had a failure. As the cars headed into the first corner, Rosenqvist locked his rear tyres which sent him into a spin, promoting Mortara into the lead of the ePrix. Rosenqvist then dropped outside the points.
Mortara looked comfortable in the lead of the race, and started to build the gap to Daniel Abt behind. While he was pushing to secure the fastest lap of the race, he too locked up and spun with just under three laps remaining in the race.
He was stationary while he watched Abt take the lead of the race. Rosenqvist, who had made steady progress since his second lap spin, then took second place. Mortara got going again but was only running in third place after leading for most of the event.
Abt rounded the final corner to take what he believed was his first ever Formula E win on his 25th birthday. However, after the race it emerged that he had been disqualified for a technical infringement, which promoted Rosenqvist to the win. Mortara was pushed up into second while Mitch Evans claimed Jaguar's first podium in the series.
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