© Getty Images

Lucas di Grassi stays cool to win frantic Mexico City ePrix

Leave a comment

Lucas di Grassi delivered a lesson in composure to his Formula E championship rivals on Saturday by claiming an emphatic victory in the Mexico City ePrix at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

Starting third on the grid, di Grassi managed to pick off Renault e.dams’ Nicolas Prost for second place just before the car swaps, before then using his FanBoost to dispose of pole-sitter and early leader Jerome d’Ambrosio one lap after pitting.

Di Grassi was not able to shake off his rivals at first, with d’Ambrosio and Prost having been joined by championship leader Sebastien Buemi and Daniel Abt, but was given the break he needed when chaos ensued just behind.

Keen to not lose sight of his championship rival at the front, Buemi attempted a move on d’Ambrosio just one lap after di Grassi had passed, only to be blocked off. A frustrated Buemi tried again a few laps later, second guessing d’Ambrosio by trying to sell a dummy – only to make contact with the Belgian.

Both drivers continued without losing a position, leaving Buemi to have a third bite of the cherry with eight laps remaining. The Swiss driver slung his e.dams around the outside of d’Ambrosio at the first corner, cutting the chicane in the process and therefore being left to give the position back.

As Buemi slowed, the train of cars behind him bunched up, much to the frustration of d’Ambrosio who now found himself at risk of losing a place to Prost. Angered by Buemi’s antics, d’Ambrosio cut the final chicane to take back second place that he believed to rightly be his, restoring the status quo.

All of this gave di Grassi a healthy buffer at the front, culminating in his third Formula E victory and a return to the top of the championship standings.

D’Ambrosio edged out Buemi in a dash to the line for second place, much to the chagrin of the e.dams driver who was left to settle for P3. However, both drivers were called to see the stewards after the race, with no decision on their tangle being made at the time of writing.

Loic Duval benefitted from the late drama to finish fourth ahead of Prost, who dropped back after receiving a penalty for an unsafe release from the pits. Robin Frijns worked his way up to sixth for Andretti Autosport, while Sam Bird ended the race seventh for DS Virgin Racing.

A late spin dropped Abt down to eighth place come the checkered flag, while Nick Heidfeld and Stephane Sarrazin rounded out the points in P9 and P10 respectively.

The next Formula E race takes place in Long Beach, California on April 2.

Rinus VeeKay to drive for Ed Carpenter Racing in 2020

Doug Mathews/IndyCar
Leave a comment

Ed Carpenter Racing has signed 2019 Indy Lights runner-up Rinus VeeKay to drive the full 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, the team announced Wednesday.

VeeKay will drive the No. 21 Chevrolet previously occupied by Spencer Pigot.

“I’m so happy!” the 19-year-old driver from the Netherlands said in a press release. “It’s a dream come true and something we have worked extremely hard for over the last couple of years. To step up from USF2000 to the NTT IndyCar Series in three years is really special.”

In his maiden Indy Lights season this year, VeeKay collected six race victories and seven pole potions. VeeKay previously won the 2018 Indy Pro 2000 championship, and finished second in the 2017 USF2000 standings.

VeeKay’s success in the ladder series caught the attention of Carpenter, who gave VeeKay the opportunity to first test for the team at Portland International Raceway in August.

“I have been following Rinus’s path through the Road to Indy, especially the past two years,” Carpenter said. “It was clear to me that he deserves to be in an Indy car. After his first day in a car at Portland this past season, that feeling became even more apparent. His pace, feedback and demeanor inside the car was very impressive for such a young driver.”

As a driver, Carpenter will be VeeKay’s teammate during the five oval races in 2020, once again returning to the team’s No. 20 entry. An announcement on which driver will pilot the No. 20 on the road and street circuits will be made at a later time.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter