In a spectacular season showdown on the shores of New York City, it was newly crowned champion Jean-Eric Vergne who took the race win while a second and third place finish for Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler saw the German manufacturer clinch the teams' championship title.
After rain threatened to make this the first wet race in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship's history, the drivers lined up on track for the last time in the Gen1 cars.
Moments after the lights went green, Techeetah's Jean-Eric Vergne wasted no time in cutting to the front, jumping from third place into the lead.
Just minutes into the race Dragon's Jose Maria Lopez stopped on track appearing to have broken his rear suspension. Only seconds later, further up the grid, NIO Formula E Team's Luca Filipi attempted to overtake MS&AD Andretti Formula E's Antonio da Felix Costa, making contact with the Andretti car before drifting across and colliding with Jerome d'Ambrosio, putting the second Dragon car out of action. With both Dragon cars out of the race, a good result for the all-American team was looking near impossible.
With both Techeetah's under investigation for jump starts, the FIA - motorsport's governing body ruled that Lotterer must serve a ten second stop and go penalty. For recently crowned champion Vergne, no further action was taken.
With the cars running under a full course yellow while Lopez's stricken car was recovered, the racing restarted on lap 11. With Vergne out in front, Lotterer pulled into the pits to serve his penalty, dropping to 15th. With Lotterer temporarily out of the picture, di Grassi took Buemi to move up into second.
After an investigation following the earlier collision between da Costa, Filippi and d'Ambrosio, da Costa received a 10-second stop and go penalty.
On lap 20, Abt chased his teammate di Grassi, overtaking Buemi in the process to move up to second. With both Audi's in the lead, another one-two for the German manufacturer looked well within reach.
With the cars coming in for Formula E's last ever car swap on lap 23 and 24, the top four drivers maintained their positions with Vergne in lead, di Grassi in second, Abt in third and Buemi in fourth.
Now into the second half of the race, Lotterer loitered in 12th, struggling to make up for lost ground owing to his earlier penalty. With Vergne in the lead and Lotterer 11 places behind, Techeetah looked set to lose the lead they once had in the teams' championship standings.
Buemi, determined to make the podium on his last race for Renault, blasted past Abt using his FANBOOST to take third on lap 26.
Up at the top, it was outgoing champion (di Grassi) versus the newly crowned champion Vergne as the two battled for the win in the Season 4 finale.
Further down the pack, Evans had maintained his sixth place by lap 33, with Mahindra Racing's Nick Heidfeld separating him from his teammate Nelson Piquet Jn. in eighth place.
Working together, just as they said they would ahead of the race, both Jaguar drivers hunted Heidfeld, determined to finish a rocky season as close to the top of the standings as possible.
Back at the front, it was reminiscent of the battle for Punta del Este as Vergne defended multiple attacks from di Grassi with the two fighting ferociously for the last win of the season.
Making contact with the back of Vergne's car, di Grassi continued to push the Frenchman with less than five laps to go. Meanwhile, Vergne's teammate Lotererer was working hard at the back of the pack to make up places and, crucially, points. Climbing up into 10th, the German driver moved up into points territory. On the attack once again, Lotterer passed Bird on the back straight, climbing up into ninth.
Approaching the final straight, both the Audi's crossed the line in second and third behind race leader Vergne, clinching the teams' championship title by just two points after a rollercoaster season. "We didn't realise we had a chance until we got the first and second yesterday - it's just amazing," said Audi Team Principal Alan McNish.
With the sun setting over the Manhattan skyline, we bid a fond farewell to both Season 4 of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship and also to the Gen1 car. What has been one of the closest fought championship battles comes to a conclusion here in New York but it's time to look to the future as Season 5 brings with it new rules, new cars and new tracks. You ain't seen nothing yet.
Keep it locked to FIAFormulaE.com for the full race analysis.
Published on 15th July 2018