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Flag of Hong Kong 2017 Hong Kong E-Prix I
Hong Kong Layout
The unchanged Hong Kong ePrix circuit.
Race Information
Date 2nd December 2017
Official Name 2017 HKT Hong Kong E-Prix
Location Flag of Hong Kong Hong Kong Harbourfront Circuit, Hong Kong
Lap length 1.860km (1.156mi)
Distance 43 laps / 79.980km (49.697mi)
Support Race {{{support}}}
Qualifying Result
Pole Sitter France Jean-Éric Vergne
Team People's Republic of China Techeetah
Time 1:03.568
Fastest Lap
Driver Germany Daniel Abt
Team {{{{{flteamnat}}}}} Unknown
Fastest Lap 1:04.320 on lap 27
ePrix Result
First Second Third
Flag of the United Kingdom Sam Bird France Jean-Éric Vergne Germany Nick Heidfeld
Winner Team Flag of the United Kingdom DS Virgin Racing
Time 1:17:10.486
ePrix Guide
Previous Next
2017 Montreal ePrix II 2017 Hong Kong E-Prix II
Post-Race Test {{{test}}}
The 2017 HKT FIA Formula E Hong Kong E-Prix, otherwise known as the 2017 Hong Kong E-Prix I, was the opening round of the 2017/18 FIA Formula E Championship, staged on the Harbourfront Circuit in Hong Kong on the 2nd December 2017.[1] Lucas di Grassi would start the season as the defending Champion, and pre-season favourite, although the exact order of the pack remained unclear after the 2017 Valencia Test.[2]

It was Jean-Éric Vergne who claimed pole in qualifying, spinning across the line after a mistake in the final corner.[3] That mistake meant the Frenchman was only 0.027s ahead of second placed Sam Bird, who himself managed to edge out Nick Heidfeld by 0.002s.[3]

A chaotic start to the E-Prix would see Vergne lead the field away from pole, only for a red flag to be thrown a few moments later as debutante André Lotterer blocked the circuit while crashing at turn three.[4] Half and hour later and the field were gathered for the second attempt at starting, with Vergne once again streaking away to an early lead.[4]

Vergne would drag Bird clear of the field as the laps ticked towards the stops, the Brit biding his time behind the Techeetah until a clear chance came.[4] Ultimately, on lap 20, Bird sent his DS Virgin skating past the Frenchman into turn six, prompting Vergne to pit at the end of the lap.[4]

Bird would stop a lap later, although a mistake on the brakes saw him slither into the side of the garage, knocking the gazebo a few feet.[4] As a result, the Brit technically changed cars outside of the permitted area, and was duly slapped with a drive-through penalty.[4] Regardless, Bird would emerge with a five second cushion over Vergne after the stops, and so used his extra laps worth of energy to try and build a gap.[4]

Three laps later, and Bird had served his penalty, emerging just ahead of Vergne who had been cruising since he heard that Bird had been penalised.[4] Bird fended off the Frenchman's brief challenge before blasting away to the flag, leaving Vergne to fight with a resurgent Heidfeld.[4]

Elsewhere, title rivals Sébastien Buemi and di Grassi came to blows early on to leave each other with damage, di Grassi forced to stop early, while Buemi carried on only to temporarily stop out on circuit.[4] Others in trouble were Felix Rosenqvist, under investigation and ultimately penalised for breaking the maximum power limit, while Jérôme d'Ambrosio was out of action after picking up damage.[4]

Ultimately, Bird would win the race from Vergne and Heidfeld, the latter not too impressed with the Frenchman's defensive technique.[4] Fourth went to Nelson Piquet Jr. on his debut for Jaguar Racing, inherited after Maro Engel was slapped with a time penalty for going over the maximum energy limit.[4] Daniel Abt completed the top five and scored an additional point for fastest lap.[4]

BackgroundEdit

It was to be a pre-season of speculation and rumour ahead of the fourth Formula E season, with four German manufacturers beginning their preparations to join the series from 2018/19 onwards.[5] Of these, Audi made the headlines early on, taking control of the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport effort, rebranding the team as Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler while reviving their "e-tron" brand with the Audi e-tron FE04.[6] They kept continuity, however, with Schaeffler remaining as a technical partner, ABT Sportsline as the team operators, and Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt as drivers.[6]

Porsche, meanwhile, had allowed two of their LMP1 drivers join the series, their official position remaining coy as to whom they would partner with in 2019/20.[7] Driver-wise, Neel Jani signed up with Dragon Racing, partnering Jérôme d'Ambrosio for the season in place of Loïc Duval in their quartet of Penske built machines.[8] André Lotterer, meanwhile, signed up to partner Jean-Éric Vergne at Techeetah, who would use the latest powertrain built by Renault.[9]

Elsewhere, BMW began their preparations to increase their involvement with Andretti Formula E, granting several BMW drivers a drive at the 2017 Valencia Test.[10] António Félix da Costa would still lead the line for the team, although it was between Tom Blomqvist and Alexander Sims for the second seat, with both reasonably equally matched in the Test.[11] The the full 2017/18 entry list, released a month before the season opening race, revealed that it was Blomqvist who would partner da Costa for the entire season.[12] However, Blomqvist would not make his debut in Hong Kong, for it was revealed that ex-F1 racer Kamui Kobayashi would use the pair of #27 cars after a late deal with Andretti and their Japanese title sponsors MS&AD.[13]

Mercedes took a similar approach to BMW, allowing several drivers to take part in the Valencia Test. However, only Edoardo Mortara would get a shot in the FE car, testing with the Venturi Formula E Team in Valencia, alongside another Mercedes DTM star in Maro Engel, young Morocco talent Michael Benyahia and endurance racer James Rossiter.[14] Mortara would ultimately earn the seat alongside Engel, replacing Tom Dillmann in the team.[15]

Another Mercedes driver would get a run-out in Valencia, with Daniel Juncadella getting a day with Mahindra Racing.[16] Unfortunately for the Spaniard, Mahindra had already decided to renew their 2016/17 driver line-up of Felix Rosenqvist and Nick Heidfeld, whom had been testing the new Mahindra M4 Electro since the turn of the year.[17] That was it for the involvement of Mercedes, who went back to reviewing their efforts ahead of their 2019/20 arrival.

Renault ZE 17

The last of the Renault products for Formula E: The Renault Z.E. 17.

Defending Teams' Champions Renault e.Dams would field an unchanged line-up of Sébastien Buemi and Nicolas Prost, and ran without any issues at the Valencia Test.[18] However, shortly after the test it was revealed that Renault would be leaving the series, with Japanese manufacturer Nissan taking over their effort from the start of the 2018/19 season.[19] The decision came as part of an agreement within the Renault-Nissan automotive alliance, with Renault focusing on their Formula One project instead, while Nissan partnered themselves with e.Dams.[19]

The other major car manufacturer in Formula E, Jaguar, had pulled something of a coup during the off-season, bringing in 2014/15 Champion Nelson Piquet Jr. to partner Mitch Evans for the year.[20] Their new car, the I-Type II was another to run faultlessly during the Valencia Test, although Piquet was outpaced by new teammate Evans throughout.[2] Piquet's former team, the NIO Formula E Team, decided to promote Oliver Turvey to lead driver, draft in Italian racer Luca Filippi for the second pair of seats, and go on to dominate the Valencia test in terms of one-lap pace.[21]

Completing the field were the DS Virgin Racing team, whom had decided to replace Citroën backed José María López with young Brit Alex Lynn, amid rumours that DS were to depart in the near future.[22] Regardless, the two would start the season as partners, with Sam Bird leading the line as he had done since season one, optimistic of challenging for the title.

The FanBoost vote for the first round of the 2017/18 Championship opened on the 27th November, and would remain so until the opening stages of the ePrix.[23]

Entry ListEdit

The full entry list for the 2017 Hong Kong E-Prix I is displayed below:

2017 Hong Kong E-Prix I Entry List
No. Name Entrant Constructor Car
1 Brazil Lucas di Grassi Germany Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler Audi e-tron FE04
2 Flag of the United Kingdom Sam Bird Flag of the United Kingdom DS Virgin Racing DS Virgin DSV-03
3 Brazil Nelson Piquet Jr. Flag of the United Kingdom Panasonic Jaguar Racing Jaguar I-Type II
4 Switzerland Edoardo Mortara Monaco Venturi Formula E Team Venturi VM200-FE-03
5 Germany Maro Engel Monaco Venturi Formula E Team Venturi VM200-FE-03
6 Switzerland Neel Jani Flag of the United States Dragon Racing Penske EV-2
7 Flag of Belgium Jérôme d'Ambrosio Flag of the United States Dragon Racing Penske EV-2
8 France Nicolas Prost France Renault e.Dams Renault Z.E. 17
9 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi France Renault e.Dams Renault Z.E. 17
16 Flag of the United Kingdom Oliver Turvey Flag of the United Kingdom NIO Formula E Team NextEV NIO 003
18 Germany André Lotterer People's Republic of China Techeetah Renault Z.E. 17
19 Flag of Sweden Felix Rosenqvist Flag of India Mahindra Racing Mahindra M4 Electro
20 Flag of New Zealand Mitch Evans Flag of the United Kingdom Panasonic Jaguar Racing Jaguar I-Type II
23 Germany Nick Heidfeld Flag of India Mahindra Racing Mahindra M4 Electro
25 France Jean-Éric Vergne People's Republic of China Techeetah Renault Z.E. 17
27 Monaco Kamui Kobayashi Flag of the United States MS&AD Andretti Formula E Andretti ATEC-04
28 Portugal António Félix da Costa Flag of the United States MS&AD Andretti Formula E Andretti ATEC-04
36 Flag of the United Kingdom Alex Lynn Flag of the United Kingdom DS Virgin Racing DS Virgin DSV-03
66 Germany Daniel Abt Germany Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler Audi e-tron FE04
68 Italy Luca Filippi Flag of the United Kingdom NIO Formula E Team NextEV NIO 003
Source:[12]

PracticeEdit

FP1Edit

FP2Edit

Practice ResultsEdit

The full results from both practice sessions is outlined below:

2017 Hong Kong E-Prix I FP1 Result
Pos. No. Name Team Time Gap Ideal
1st 9 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi France Renault e.Dams 1:03.310 1:03.310
2nd 20 Flag of New Zealand Mitch Evans Flag of the United Kingdom Jaguar Racing 1:03.776 +0.466s 1:03.751
3rd 66 Germany Daniel Abt Germany Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 1:03.856 +0.546s 1:03.856
4th 1 Brazil Lucas di Grassi Germany Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 1:03.969 +0.659s 1:03.969
5th 2 Flag of the United Kingdom Sam Bird Flag of the United Kingdom DS Virgin Racing 1:04.097 +0.787s 1:04.084
6th 8 France Nicolas Prost France Renault e.Dams 1:04.129 +0.819s 1:03.980
7th 3 Brazil Nelson Piquet Jr. Flag of the United Kingdom Jaguar Racing 1:04.269 +0.959s 1:04.071
8th 4 Switzerland Edoardo Mortara Monaco Venturi 1:04.279 +0.969s 1:04.272
9th 25 France Jean-Éric Vergne People's Republic of China Techeetah 1:04.299 +0.989s 1:04.299
10th 16 Flag of the United Kingdom Oliver Turvey Flag of the United Kingdom NIO Formula E Team 1:04.380 +1.070s 1:04.156
11th 36 Flag of the United Kingdom Alex Lynn Flag of the United Kingdom DS Virgin Racing 1:04.491 +1.181s 1:04.199
12th 19 Flag of Sweden Felix Rosenqvist Flag of India Mahindra Racing 1:04.524 +1.214s 1:04.261
13th 23 Germany Nick Heidfeld Flag of India Mahindra Racing 1:04.596 +1.286s 1:04.356
14th 28 Portugal António Félix da Costa Flag of the United States Andretti Formula E 1:04.686 +1.376s 1:04.662
15th 5 Germany Maro Engel Monaco Venturi 1:04.728 +1.418s 1:04.679
16th 7 Flag of Belgium Jérôme d'Ambrosio Flag of the United States Dragon Racing 1:04.766 +1.456s 1:04.466
17th 18 Germany André Lotterer People's Republic of China Techeetah 1:05.455 +2.145s 1:05.027
18th 68 Italy Luca Filippi Flag of the United Kingdom NIO Formula E Team 1:05.490 +2.180s 1:05.108
19th 27 Monaco Kamui Kobayashi Flag of the United States Andretti Formula E 1:05.820 +2.410s 1:05.543
20th 6 Switzerland Neel Jani Flag of the United States Dragon Racing 1:07.441 +4.131s 1:06.901
Source:[24]

2017 Hong Kong E-Prix I FP2 Result
Pos. No. Name Team Time Gap Ideal
1st 20 Flag of New Zealand Mitch Evans Flag of the United Kingdom Jaguar Racing 1:02.875 1:02.875
2nd 66 Germany Daniel Abt Germany Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 1:03.113 +0.238s 1:03.113
3rd 1 Brazil Lucas di Grassi Germany Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 1:03.166 +0.291s 1:02.929
4th 16 Flag of the United Kingdom Oliver Turvey Flag of the United Kingdom NIO Formula E Team 1:03.295 +0.420s 1:03.295
5th 23 Germany Nick Heidfeld Flag of India Mahindra Racing 1:03.321 +0.446s 1:03.321
6th 2 Flag of the United Kingdom Sam Bird Flag of the United Kingdom DS Virgin Racing 1:03.441 +0.566s 1:03.319
7th 3 Brazil Nelson Piquet Jr. Flag of the United Kingdom Jaguar Racing 1:03.562 +0.687s 1:03.232
8th 19 Flag of Sweden Felix Rosenqvist Flag of India Mahindra Racing 1:03.571 +0.696s 1:03.017
9th 8 France Nicolas Prost France Renault e.Dams 1:03.616 +0.741s 1:03.589
10th 28 Portugal António Félix da Costa Flag of the United States Andretti Formula E 1:03.636 +0.761s 1:03.636
11th 36 Flag of the United Kingdom Alex Lynn Flag of the United Kingdom DS Virgin Racing 1:03.717 +0.842s 1:03.649
12th 25 France Jean-Éric Vergne People's Republic of China Techeetah 1:03.729 +0.854s 1:03.561
13th 4 Switzerland Edoardo Mortara Monaco Venturi 1:03.909 +1.034s 1:03.909
14th 27 Monaco Kamui Kobayashi Flag of the United States Andretti Formula E 1:04.293 +1.418s 1:04.293
15th 68 Italy Luca Filippi Flag of the United Kingdom NIO Formula E Team 1:04.349 +1.474s 1:04.265
16th 7 Flag of Belgium Jérôme d'Ambrosio Flag of the United States Dragon Racing 1:04.503 +1.628s 1:04.306
17th 5 Germany Maro Engel Monaco Venturi 1:04.563 +1.688s 1:03.917
18th 18 Germany André Lotterer People's Republic of China Techeetah 1:05.020 +2.145s 1:05.003
19th 9 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi France Renault e.Dams 1:05.057 +2.182s 1:04.604
20th 6 Switzerland Neel Jani Flag of the United States Dragon Racing 1:05.342 +2.467s 1:04.797
Source:[24]

QualifyingEdit

The qualifying format would remain unchanged for the fourth edition of the Formula E Championship, bar one minor detail. Unchanged was the overall format, with four groups of five drivers each getting a six minute period to set a single full 200kw/h lap, before the top five overall went through to the Super Pole shootout.[25] The shootout would then see each of the top five drivers, starting with the man in fifth, go out to set a single flying lap in order to determine who would start from pole.[25]

The only change to this format came in the structure of the groups, with the field now split according to their position in the Championship, rather than randomly assigned via a lottery.[26] The exception to this would be the opening round, the Hong Kong ePrix I, which used the original system to determine who would compete in which group.[25]

Group 1Edit

Two debutantes would make their qualifying debut in the first group of the session, as Edoardo Mortara and André Lotterer were drawn into group one.[25] Mortara's Venturi teammate Maro Engel would also head out early, as would season two Champion Sébastien Buemi, and DS Virgin's Alex Lynn.[25] Of those involved, it was Buemi who was expected to star, with Lynn likely to challenge for Super Pole at the very least.

Lotterer was the first man to head out on circuit at the start of the session, with the rest of the field waiting a couple more minutes to appear behind the German.[27] However, Lotterer's lap would be riddled with minor mistakes, all caused by over-enthusiasm with the throttle, as did Lynn whom effectively threw away his effort at turn two with a huge rear lock-up.[27] Buemi, meanwhile, would record an ultra-smooth effort to go fastest ahead of Lotterer, Mortara would smack the wall at turn five behind Lynn, while Engel had to back off due to his teammate's debris.[27]

Group 2Edit

A further pair of debutantes would feature in the second group of the day, with Kamui Kobayashi and Luca Filippi making their mutual FE bows.[25] Andretti would also have to prepare Kobayashi's teammate António Félix da Costa for an early run, with Sam Bird (Virgin) and Mitch Evans of Jaguar also in action.[25] Bird was the man expected to come out on top of the group, while Evans and da Costa would hope to challenge for the top ten.

Kobayashi was the first man out on circuit with three and a half minutes to run, with fellow debutante Filippi out early as well.[27] Indeed, the two debutantes would impress despite a couple of minor lock-ups and taps with the wall, with Kobayashi going third overall, while Filippi claimed fifth.[27] They were then both knocked down the order as da Costa went fastest, before Bird recorded an ultra impressive 1:03.278 to go six tenths faster than the Portuguese racer.[27] Evans' meanwhile, would have an issue on his lap and duly had to abandon it.[27]

Group 3Edit

Neel Jani would be the last of the debuting drivers to get his first taste of qualifying, his Dragon drawn to compete in the penultimate group of the day.[25] Ex-Champion Nelson Piquet Jr. would also make his quali-bow for Jaguar, while the two Mahindras of Felix Rosenqvist and Nick Heidfeld were also in action.[25] Completing the quintet would be Jean-Éric Vergne of Techeetah, who would expect to challenge for Super Pole alongside the two Mahindras based on previous form.[25]

Piquet was the first on track for group three, although his effort was harmed by a huge lock-up at turn two, leaving him in fourth at the end of his lap.[27] Rosenqvist put in a much cleaner effort to go second fastest overall, setting the fastest final sector, before Vergne took both honours away from the Swede at the end of his lap.[27] Jani should have been next but abandoned his full power lap after an issue, while Heidfeld set the fastest first sector to go second fastest, just 0.074s.[27]

Group 4Edit

The final quintet before Super Pole would see the reigning Champion Lucas di Grassi hit the circuit, joined by Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler stablemate Daniel Abt.[25] Their major challenge was expected to come in the form of Nicolas Prost in the #8 Renault e.Dams, while Oliver Turvey would hope that his pace in testing would be reflected in the real world.[25] Jérôme d'Ambrosio would complete the group for Dragon.[25]

Prost was first out on circuit, although the Frenchman threw away an excellent start to his lap by slapping the wall at the exit of turn five, ripping front wing in two.[27] He was forced to limp back to the pits, with d'Ambrosio right behind him as the Frenchman limped around.[27] Indeed, d'Ambrosio would even manage to pick up some of the Frenchman's debris, with part of an advertising banner tangling itself in the front of his Dragon as he passed the limping Prost.[27]

A red flag was thrown to clear Prost's debris from the circuit, meaning d'Ambrosio, di Grassi, Abt and Turvey would get a second shot at qualifying.[27] Indeed, the session would restart with two and three-quarter minutes to go, meaning there would be no warm-up lap in race mode for the drivers.[27] That fact may have affected the final group, for while both di Grassi and Abt would set fastest first sectors, poor middle and final sectors would see them finish sixth and fifth respectively.[27]

Behind, d'Ambrosio was unspectacular en-route to eleventh, while Turvey just fell shy of a spot in Super Pole after a mistake in the final sector.[27]

Super PoleEdit

Having just scraped into Super Pole it was Abt whom got the ball rolling in the final phase of qualifying, with a neat lap resulting in a 1:03.724.[27] Rosenqvist went next but instantly threw away his hopes of taking pole position, a huge lock-up into turn one costing him over eight tenths in the first sector alone.[27] Next out would be the Techeetah of Vergne, who put together a stunning final sector to claim a 1:03.568, despite spinning through the final corner and crossing the finish line backwards.[27]

Following the spinning Parisian out on track would be Heidfeld, whom would match Vergne corner-to-corner, bar the spin in the final turn, to end his lap just 0.029s behind.[27] Next out, and the last man on track, would be Bird, whom aced the first and second sectors to go a tenth clear of Vergne.[27] However, a rear-lock up and tank-slapper through turn six would cost the Brit that tenth to leave his 0.027s off of the Frenchman's time, although if Bird's reactions had been any slower then he would not have recorded a lap at all.[27]

Post QualifyingEdit

The final qualifying result for the 2017 Hong Kong E-Prix I are outlined below:

2017 Hong Kong E-Prix I Qualifying Result
Pos. No. Name Team Time Gap Grid
1st 25 France Jean-Éric Vergne People's Republic of China Techeetah 1:03.568 1
2nd 2 Flag of the United Kingdom Sam Bird Flag of the United Kingdom DS Virgin Racing 1:03.595 +0.027s 2
3rd 23 Germany Nick Heidfeld Flag of India Mahindra Racing 1:03.597 +0.029s 3
4th 66 Germany Daniel Abt Germany Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 1:03.724 +0.156s 4
5th 19 Flag of Sweden Felix Rosenqvist Flag of India Mahindra Racing 1:04.718 +1.150s 5
Super Pole
1st 2 Flag of the United Kingdom Sam Bird Flag of the United Kingdom DS Virgin Racing 1:03.276 SP
2nd 23 Germany Nick Heidfeld Flag of India Mahindra Racing 1:03.350 +0.074s SP
3rd 25 France Jean-Éric Vergne People's Republic of China Techeetah 1:03.403 +0.127s SP
4th 19 Flag of Sweden Felix Rosenqvist Flag of India Mahindra Racing 1:03.466 +0.190s SP
5th 66 Germany Daniel Abt Germany Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 1:03.561 +0.285s SP
6th 1 Brazil Lucas di Grassi Germany Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 1:03.773 +0.497s 6
7th 16 Flag of the United Kingdom Oliver Turvey Flag of the United Kingdom NIO Formula E Team 1:03.881 +0.605s 7
8th 28 Portugal António Félix da Costa Flag of the United States Andretti Formula E 1:03.914 +0.638s 8
9th 9 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi France Renault e.Dams 1:03.966 +0.690s 9
10th 3 Brazil Nelson Piquet Jr. Flag of the United Kingdom Jaguar Racing 1:03.993 +0.717s 10
11th 7 Flag of Belgium Jérôme d'Ambrosio Flag of the United States Dragon Racing 1:04.405 +1.129s 11
12th 18 Germany André Lotterer People's Republic of China Techeetah 1:04.423 +1.147s 12
13th 27 Monaco Kamui Kobayashi Flag of the United States Andretti Formula E 1:04.806 +1.530s 13
14th 5 Germany Maro Engel Monaco Venturi 1:04.907 +1.631s 14
15th 68 Italy Luca Filippi Flag of the United Kingdom NIO Formula E Team 1:05.450 +2.174s 15
16th 36 Flag of the United Kingdom Alex Lynn Flag of the United Kingdom DS Virgin Racing 1:05.544 +2.268s 16
17th 6 Switzerland Neel Jani Flag of the United States Dragon Racing 1:05.615 +2.339s 17
18th 8 France Nicolas Prost France Renault e.Dams 1:07.745 +4.469s 18
19th 4 Switzerland Edoardo Mortara Monaco Venturi 1:12.730 +9.454s 19
20th 20 Flag of New Zealand Mitch Evans Flag of the United Kingdom Jaguar Racing 1:19.616 +16.340s 20
Source:[28]

RaceEdit

It was a clear and dry afternoon in Hong Kong ahead of the opening E-Prix of the season, with no weather concerns ahead of the start.[29] Likewise, there were no concerns with any of the twenty starters ahead of the race, with the cars smartly pulling forward off the "dummy" grid for the start without issue.[4]

ReportEdit

It would be an even start to the race for the front row starters, pole sitter Jean-Éric Vergne edging out Nick Heidfeld on the brakes into turn one.[29] The rest of the field came charging in behind them, all diving towards the inside of the circuit to try and have the inside line for the opening corner.[29] The exception to this would be Oliver Turvey, who danced his NIO on the brakes around the outside of the pack, leaping from seventh to third.[29]

However, the race would only continue for another two corners, with Vergne's teammate the victim of a midfield squeeze into the first chicane.[29] Forced onto the outside of the chicane, André Lotterer ran out of steering lock after trying to run side-by-side with Nelson Piquet Jr., meaning the Techeetah wedged itself into the barriers.[29] Piquet's teammate Mitch Evans was right behind Lotterer and left with no room, before a further three cars got caught in the jam, completely blocking the circuit.[29]

A red flag was thrown to clear the circuit, although there would only be a thirty minute delay.[29] The field restarted behind the safety car in the order that they had finished the first lap, meaning Vergne led from Sam Bird, Turvey, Heidfeld, whom had been squeezed out by Vergne on the exit of the first corner, and Daniel Abt.[29] Lucas di Grassi would form up behind the safety car in sixth, while Lotterer would start from dead last, his Techeetah only requiring minor repairs.[29]

It proved to be a fairly tame restart behind the safety car, with Vergne and Bird immediately sprinting clear of the rest as the field dived towards turn one.[29] Indeed, it was only on the start of lap five that the racing truly got underway, with Sébastien Buemi trying to elbow his way past arch-rival di Grassi into turn one.[29] Unfortunately for the Swiss racer the Brazilian instead decided to put the squeeze on the Renault into the first turn, forcing Buemi up onto the kerbs.[29]

After a couple of nudges between the pair it was di Grassi who exited the corner still in sixth, with the rest of the top ten diving in behind them.[29] Moments later and Felix Rosenqvist was turned around on the apex by Luca Filippi after the Italian misjudged his braking point and duly clattered into the Mahindra.[29] Rosenqvist was forced to wait for a gap to spin back around and rejoin, leaving him well outside the points, while Filippi continued without issue.[29]

The dramas behind allowed the top five to sprint away from the rest, with Bird harassing Vergne for the lead as the pair edged clear of third placed Turvey.[29] Turvey himself was sitting a second clear of Heidfeld, whose Mahindra was receiving a lot of attention from Abt.[29] Behind, di Grassi was not being investigated for a late move on Buemi, despite the Swiss racers' complaints, while Jérôme d'Ambrosio stopped out on circuit with a fault.[29]

The fight for the lead continued on unabated, while Heidfeld and Abt began to close in on Turvey, whom was beginning to struggle with energy consumption.[29] At the start of the lap nine Heidfeld had got within striking distance, although his attempt into turn two back fired when the Brit ran him wide.[29] That allowed Abt to sneak through and claim fourth, but Turvey was able to resist his early attempts.[29]

Turvey's lack of pace was increasingly telling as the race wore on, allowing di Grassi and Buemi to draw onto the back of them.[29] Behind, Edoardo Mortara made a brave move for thirteenth on fellow debutante Kamui Kobayashi, a move that also opened the door for the recovering Rosenqvist on the exit of turn one.[29] Kobayashi would lose another spot later in the lap to Nicolas Prost, a victim of Lotterer's queue, while Rosenqvist got completely locked up while diving past Mortara, but emerged with thirteenth without contact.[29]

On lap sixteen defending Champion di Grassi surprised the field by diving into the pits, just ahead of Filippi who was serving his drive-through penalty.[29] The Brazilian lost a lap as the problem was diagnosed, a suspension failure forcing him to swap to his second car some six laps early.[29] As he rejoined, Turvey dropped out from third, a sudden loss of power seeing him crawl back to the pits.[29]

Back with the leaders, and Vergne and Bird were on their own out front, despite the fact that the Brit was throwing everything at the Frenchman.[29] On lap twenty Bird finally caught Vergne out, selling the Techeetah a dummy as the duo dived onto the brakes at turn six.[29] Vergne dived into the pits at the end of the lap to swap to his second car, while Bird opted to complete an additional lap.[29]

Vergne's stop was the first of the pit window, although most of the field would complete and additional lap along with Bird.[29] However, when the Brit came into the pits he would be caught out by the dusty surface, with the Virgin sent slithering into the side of his pitbox.[29] His sliding Virgin also knocked a mechanic of his feet, who was fortunately uninjured, while Bird was immediately investigated for changing outside of the permitted area.[29]

Yet, somewhat miraculously, the Brit would emerge in the lead of the race, with Vergne getting caught behind a fight between Kobayashi and Mitch Evans, who stopped even later.[29] Even worse news for Vergne was the fact that his delay allowed Heidfeld to draw right onto his tail, although the Frenchman was soon bouyed by news that Bird was slapped with a drive-through penalty for his stop infringement.[29] As the leading fight was resolving itself, Buemi dropped out of contention, briefly stopping out on circuit when his second car shut itself down.[29]

Bird served his on lap thirty, three laps after it was issued, yet still emerged with the lead, a benefit of the fact that the pitlane cut part of the final sector.[29] As he rejoined Hedifeld tried another move on Vergne which he had to abort, although the Frenchman almost gifted him the position while weighing up an optimistic dive on Bird into the turn three/four chicane.[29] Diving on the brakes caused the rear-axle on the Techeetah to lock up, although the Frenchman just kept the car out of the barriers to hold on for second.[29]

Moments later and Heidfeld's teammate Rosenqvist tried a dive into the same corner, having somehow leapt from eleventh to fifth in the stops.[29] His dive was an attempt to take fourth from Maro Engel, although all he managed to do was clip the back of the Venturi.[29] Engel, however, was able to get the Venturi back under control and hold the position, with Rosenqvist left to plot his next attempt.[29]

Back with Heidfeld, and the German was glued to the back of Vergne, trying everything he could to pass given his extra-lap of energy.[29] His best shot came six laps from the flag, with Heidfeld opting to try the outside line into turn two, a move that had as yet been unsuccessful.[29] The ploy almost worked, however, as Vergne was caught looking in his mirrors and so ran wide, although his sliding Techeetah blocked just enough of the track to prevent Heidfeld from cutting back inside.[29] It was therefore status-quo for second, as Bird continued to streak away out-front.[29]

Into the final laps and Engel had a queue forming behind him, having been placed under investigation for his peak-energy usage.[29] However, it was Rosenqvist who would get caught out with his energy use, leaving the door open while lifting and coasting to let Nelson Piquet Jr. come steaming past into turn one.[29] That move also opened the door for Abt, while behind Mortara, with some ten percent more energy than anyone else, charging past Alex Lynn for ninth.[29]

Rosenqvist's woes continued into the final lap, as António Félix da Costa body-checked the Mahindra into turn one.[29] Mortara was next to try a move, but the Swede aggressively squeezed the debuting Italian towards the wall, denying him a chance of a move into turn two.[29] That proved to be the last of the on track action, as Bird drew closer and closer to the flag.[29]

Bird duly crossed the line to claim the first win of the season, with Vergne remaining unchallenged from Heidfeld to the line.[29] Engel was slapped with a penalty to be dumped out of fourth, meaning Piquet Jr. claimed the position, with Abt and da Costa completing the top six.[29] Rosenqvist claimed seventh but was hit with a post-race penalty for his peak-energy use, meaning Mortara, Lynn, Prost and Filippi claimed the remaining points paying positions.[29]

ResultEdit

The final classification of the 2017 Hong Kong E-Prix I is displayed below, with the fastest lap setter indicated in italics, and the pole sitter shown in bold.

2017 Hong Kong E-Prix I Race Result
Pos. No. Name Team Laps Race Time Fastest lap Pts.
1st* 2 Flag of the United Kingdom Sam Bird Flag of the United Kingdom DS Virgin Racing 43 1:17:10.486 1:04.639 25
2nd 25 France Jean-Éric Vergne People's Republic of China Techeetah 43 +11.575s 1:04.751 21
3rd 23 Germany Nick Heidfeld Flag of India Mahindra Racing 43 +12.465s 1:04.840 15
4th 3 Brazil Nelson Piquet Jr. Flag of the United Kingdom Jaguar Racing 43 +15.324s 1:04.989 12
5th 66 Germany Daniel Abt FanBoosticon Germany Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 43 +17.205s 1:04.320 11
6th 28 Portugal António Félix da Costa Flag of the United States Andretti Formula E 43 +18.083s 1:04.761 8
7th 4 Switzerland Edoardo Mortara Monaco Venturi 43 +19.797s 1:04.671 6
8th 36 Flag of the United Kingdom Alex Lynn Flag of the United Kingdom DS Virgin Racing 43 +20.904s 1:04.838 4
9th 8 France Nicolas Prost France Renault e.Dams 43 +24.785s 1:04.610 2
10th 68 Italy Luca Filippi FanBoosticon Flag of the United Kingdom NIO Formula E Team 43 +25.500s 1:04.609 1
11th 9 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi France Renault e.Dams 43 +26.202s 1:04.756
12th 20 Flag of New Zealand Mitch Evans Flag of the United Kingdom Jaguar Racing 43 +34.871s 1:04.788
13th 5 Germany Maro Engel Monaco Venturi 43 +35.752s 1:05.078
14th 19 Flag of Sweden Felix Rosenqvist Flag of India Mahindra Racing 43 +41.174s 1:04.302
15th 27 Monaco Kamui Kobayashi FanBoosticon Flag of the United States Andretti Formula E 43 +48.422s 1:04.762
16th 16 Flag of the United Kingdom Oliver Turvey Flag of the United Kingdom NIO Formula E Team 42 +1 Lap 1:05.427
17th 1 Brazil Lucas di Grassi Germany Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 42 +1 Lap 1:05.056
18th 6 Switzerland Neel Jani Flag of the United States Dragon Racing 42 +1 Lap 1:06.398
Ret 7 Flag of Belgium Jérôme d'Ambrosio Flag of the United States Dragon Racing 34 Damage 1:04.297
DSQ 18 Germany André Lotterer People's Republic of China Techeetah 43 Disqualified 1:04.967
Source:[28]
  • FanBoosticon Indicates a driver was awarded FanBoost during the race.
  • * Bird handed a ten place grid penalty for the next race after changing cars outside of the permitted area.[30]
  • Rosenqvist and Engel hit with 22 second time penalties for exceeding the maximum power output.[30]
  • Lotterer was disqualified from the race for leaving his car in an "unsafe" condition in Parc Ferme.[30]

MilestonesEdit

StandingsEdit

Victory, in spite of his pitstop mishap, ensured that Sam Bird led the Championship after the first round, four points ahead of pole sitter Jean-Éric Vergne after their battle mid-race. Nick Heidfeld went into the second race of the weekend in third, with Nelson Piquet Jr. was fourth ahead of fastest lap setter Daniel Abt. António Félix da Costa, Edoardo Mortara, Alex Lynn, Nicolas Prost and Luca Filippi completed the earliest point scorers list.

Bird's victory combined with Lynn's promotion to eighth gave DS Virgin Racing an early lead in the Teams' Championship, the Anglo-French squad heading into the second round with 29 points. Techeetah sat second thanks to Vergne, while Mahindra Racing were relegated to third after Felix Rosenqvist was bumped out of the points. The rest of the order was then placed on single car point scorers at the season opener, leaving Dragon Racing as the only team without a point.

 
2017/18 Drivers' Championship
Pos. Name Pts. +/-
1st Flag of the United Kingdom Sam Bird 25 ◄0
2nd France Jean-Éric Vergne 21 ◄0
3rd Germany Nick Heidfeld 15 ◄0
4th Brazil Nelson Piquet Jr. 12 ◄0
5th Germany Daniel Abt 11 ◄0
6th Portugal António Félix da Costa 8 ◄0
7th Switzerland Edoardo Mortara 6 ◄0
8th Flag of the United Kingdom Alex Lynn 4 ◄0
9th France Nicolas Prost 2 ◄0
10th Italy Luca Filippi 1 ◄0
2017/18 Teams' Championship
Pos. Name Pts. +/-
1st Flag of the United Kingdom DS Virgin Racing 29 ◄0
2nd People's Republic of China Techeetah 21 ◄0
3rd Flag of India Mahindra Racing 15 ◄0
4th Flag of the United Kingdom Jaguar Racing 12 ◄0
5th Germany Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 11 ◄0
6th Flag of the United States Andretti Formula E 8 ◄0
7th Monaco Venturi 6 ◄0
8th France Renault e.Dams 2 ◄0
9th Flag of the United Kingdom NIO Formula E Team 1 ◄0
10th Flag of the United States Dragon Racing 0 ◄0

Only point scoring drivers are shown.

ReferencesEdit

Videos and Images:

References:
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