"Clearly my fault" says standings leader on that Lap 1 shunt in Cape Town

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"Clearly my fault" says standings leader on that Lap 1 shunt in Cape Town

Pascal Wehrlein escaped relatively unscathed and with his standings lead intact after the Cape Town E-Prix, after he wiped Sebastien Buemi and himself out on Lap 1.

Wehrlein Buemi crash Cape Town

The German headed to Cape Town with a strong standings lead after grabbing a win-double in Diriyah alongside second in the season-opener in Mexico and fourth in Hyderabad. So, time to double down then in South Africa?

Wehrlein had run in the top 10 all weekend and headed into the Duels in qualifying - losing out to Envision Racing's Nick Cassidy but still securing sixth on the grid.

The Porsche has looked mighty on energy efficiency all season so far, and looked to be content with a patient drive - ceding a spot to Sebastien Buemi (Envision Racing) off the line. Only half way around the opening lap, though, Wehrlein got it all wrong at Turn 9 and misjudged his braking point - sliding straight into Buemi's car and taking both out of the running; Wehrlein permanently with broken suspension, while the Swiss impressively recovered to fifth at the chequered flag.


"It was a painful day because anything was possible today," said the 28-year-old. "It was my fault and a clear mistake on my part. I braked too late and too hard, and I locked the wheels - I just couldn't avoid the collision.

"I apologise to and feel sorry for the team and my crew. We win together and we lose together and in Sao Paulo, we'll attack again."

He'd not finished outside the top four yet in Season 9, leaving him, luckily enough, with plenty of leeway in the Drivers' World Championship. With Jake Dennis leaving Cape Town pointless, having managed only 13th position, Wehrlein still holds a healthy 18-point margin as Formula E rapidly approaches its first trip to Sao Paulo, Brazil on 25 March.

He'll start three places back and with two penalty points on his licence, though, after his coming-together with Buemi. Plenty to do, then to get his title charge back on-track. Wehrlein, though, is still looking race by race and no further.

"I don't really have my eyes on the title yet," says the Porsche driver. "It's very early in the season and its the individual results and races that count for me at the moment. Cape Town was a case of damage limitation in the end [with Dennis, his nearest competitor also failing to score] but I won't look to closely or get carried away by it. I'll see what I can do better next time so it doesn't happen again."

Cape Town Moment - Buemi

Buemi: 'We could have scored more points'

"I braked a little too late," said Buemi to Auto Bild. "Vergne ahead braked early and I drove slower through the corner as a result but Pascal braked way too late - it's a shame.

"I felt he could have swereved to the right," he continued - feeling the Porsche driver could have avoided impact with other drivers, but had little room for maneouvre, veering into the wall instead where "his race would have been over anyway," added Buemi.

"I had a really good car despite the accident [in Free Practice]. It's a shame after losing 15 points in India because of a penalty, too. This is the second time I could have scored significantly more points. The important thing is we're fast, and that means it will work out eventually. Nick's result was great for the team and we're now second in the championship."