Sublime Evans dominates Mexico e-Prix to win from Da Costa and Buemi

Jaguar’s Mitch Evans produced a superb performance to win the Mexico e-Prix, winning from DS TECHEETAH’S Antonio Felix Da Costa and Sebastian Buemi, after a dramatic race.

It was Porsche’s Andre Lotterer who started from pole position, the popular German targeting his first race victory after many near misses. But early contact between himself and Nyck de Vries spelled an early end to his chances, damage to the front of his car dropping him back down the field and into retirement.

It meant that New Zealander Evans was in charge of the race, and despite a couple of safety car interventions, he was never seriously troubled and romped to victory from a surging Da Costa and Buemi, champion Jean-Eric Vergne finishing a strong fourth from his starting position of eighth on the grid.

“You guys nailed that. The work we’ve done between these last two races has been absolutely amazing. Thank You,” said Evans after crossing the line. “Obviously after the pain during Santiago the guys did such an amazing job, given me a car that has been dominant during the race. We have a good quali, and we now have a good race car so huge thanks to everyone at the team and it just feels so good!”

As so often happens in this most exciting and unpredictable of series, it was a dramatic start. Lotterer’s misfortune was Evans’ gain, and when Nico Mueller ploughed straight into the barriers five minutes into the race, a first safety car was called into action. Upon resumption, Evans extended his lead, Envision Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird sending a bold overtake past Lotterer to take third, Robin Frijns and de Vries also taking the German before contact between the Porsche and Mercedes spelled the end for the luckless Lotterer.

Meanwhile, Bird was flying, using Attack Mode to full effect to sweep up to second and pile pressure on leader Evans. Even at this early stage, it looked like it would be a battle to the finish between the duo, but that was to underestimate the race pace of the DS TECHEETAH cars, who set about their prey, as the big cats do on the plains of Africa. This time, the weaving gazelles in front of them being Evans, Bird and Buemi.

Initially, Da Costa ceded position to Vergne, possibly a tactical scenario with the champion saving energy towards the end of the race. But, when contact between de Vries and Frijns allowed Da Costa to sweep down the inside and up to fourth, it became a marvellous fight for podium places. And the drama was far from over.

A further safety car, caused by Ma Quinhua hitting the wall, bunched up the pack and a fired up da Costa surged past Buemi around the outside to take third position and pressure Bird into a mistake, the Virgin man going into the barriers at Turn 13.

“I just need to sort out my qualies, really,” said Da Costa afterward. “The car is really fast, I just need to get more familiar with the car in one lap and take my life a little bit more easier in the race. These races are super fun, but I’d rather have a race like Mitch, where there is not much going on. But massive shout out to the team, they’ve been amazing. The work that is done behind the scenes, there is people in Paris so Merci, thank you guys, we’re coming for the championship.”

The result means that race winner Evans now leads the championship by a single point from BMW’s Alexander Sims, with Da Costa jumping to third, a point ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne after the Belgian’s late retirement.

“The contrast between Santiago is obviously massive, the work ethic and the work that has gone in, basically to try and find solutions for that pace deficit to Santiago, we fund that and the guys gave me, produced me such a good car and I had my targets,” added Evans. “When you’re out in front, I had my own rhythm and it was pretty tough, but it was a close start with Andre, almost like déjà vu from Rome, but hat’s off to everyone and this feels really nice to get our first victory of the season.”

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.