13 Apr 19
13 Apr 19
Record streaks, emotional maiden wins and one 'extremely frustrated' reigning champion. After the dust settles on the streets of the Eternal City, here's the very best bits and all the analysis from the brutal battle for Rome.
"This championship is so unpredictable," says HWA Racelab's Stoffel Vandoorne, still coming to terms with both his and his team's first podium in Formula E, in the aftermath of a challenging battle on the streets of Rome.
Since the Championship kicked off the 2018/19 season in Saudi Arabia late last year, we've seen a different driver from a different team climb to the top of the podium in each of the seven rounds.
"We've had seven different winners from seven different teams - who knows what will happen in Paris - maybe we'll see the eighth different winner from the eight different team?"
With the second round of the voestalpine European races fast approaching, will Formula E's record streak continue as the Championship rumbles into Paris on April 27? Join us to find out.
"The win couldn't have come at a more important time," said Panasonic Jaguar Racing's Mitch Evans, still grinning after securing his and the team's first victory in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.
"Everyone at Jaguar Racing and everyone at Jaguar Land Rover has been so supportive - the guys have been working so hard back at the factory.
"It's been a tough couple of seasons since we joined the Championship but we made it happen today. It's a little later than we'd have liked but we'll take it and crack on with the Championship and see what we've got!"
Since the British team entered into the series in the 2016/17 season, the top step of the podium had proved elusive for Jaguar but the win in Rome is the first victory for the British car maker in the best part of three decades. Toping it all off, was the memory of last season's race in Italy's capital in which Evans energy management strategy resulted in disaster for the Kiwi driver, who fell to the back of the pack as he crawled across the finish line.
"I had bad memories of last season but surprisingly, I wasn't thinking about it. Naturally, I grew and matured a lot since that race last year and it was tough to swallow but you gain a lot of experience from something like that," said the race winner with a smile.
If it wasn't for the new ATTACK MODE, the plucky young Kiwi driver might not have made it to the top step of the podium. Here in Rome, a well-timed, strategic activation from Evans saw the Jaguar driver use the extra power to catapult past race leader Lotterer and clinch the win.
"I just had to be smart with the ATTACK MODES and I wanted to use it when he wasn't and I got the power difference," said Evans.
"I got [the overtake] done and that was a really crucial part of the race. When I saw him in my mirrors, I thought we'd got this - I just needed to bring it home.
"The pace was really strong but I missed the second ATTACK MODE activation and I was kicking myself - it made my life a bit harder but I managed to bring it home.
"Sure, I may have had a shot on race power but ATTACK MODE helped a lot."
But for second place finisher and DS Techeetah driver Andre Lotterer, the on-track power boost was a critical factor in his fall from the front of the pack.
"I knew we were going to get into difficulty when he put ATTACK MODE on behind me because he had a tiny bit more energy," said Lotterer after the race. "I don't understand how the pace could have been so different."
After it's launch in the season opener in Saudi Arabia, ATTACK MODE still continues to be the spice in the all-electric street racing series.
"I was supposed to leave here today as the leader of the championship, so I'm highly frustrated," said reigning champion and DS Techeetah driver Jean-Eric Vergne.
"I need some time to cool down because the race was perfect - I overtook all the guys in front. I overtook Lucas, Wehrlein and da Costa - all the guy's I'm fighting with."
After he was crowned 2017/18 season champion in New York City last season, Vergne's fortunes in Formula E have been fluctuating since the very first round. Three 'pointless' races were followed by a much-needed win in Sanya, China for JEV before Rome, where a 37-second penalty destroyed his chances of points, dropping the Frenchman to a 14th place finish. Now seventh in the standings with 54 points, Vergne's hopes of a second championship title might be more distant but he's confident he'll close the gap.
"It's extremely, extremely frustrating but I'm still only a few points behind anyway, so yes - I could close the gap in one race," he added.
For former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa (Venturi), the race in Rome was nothing short of a home race for the Brazilian who'd spent the best part of a decade living like an Italian.
"I feel disappointed, especially for the race here in Rome with the great Italian fans," said Massa, clearly crestfallen at retiring from the race in front of grandstands packed with Italian fans.
"I'm very disappointed for the result - we had a technical issue today with both cars...Despite that, it's been amazing with the fans - it's been like a home race, so it's a great pleasure to be racing here. Unfortunately, I couldn't give the right result but we'll definitely keep pushing!"