The Mercedes EQ Formula E Team endured a disappointing New York ePrix race one on Saturday as Nyck de Vries started the race from 18th place after finishing group one qualifying in fourth place and the German came home in 13th place and speaking following the race he commented saying:
“I guess it was just one of those days. As early as Lap 1, I got hit from behind. That’s happened to me three races in a row now. Although I tried to avoid the car in front of me, it was impossible. So, I hit the car in front and lost my right front fender, and from that point on, the balance was really compromised and the car was not nice to drive. It was a tough race after that. Although I brought the car through to the finish, I had no opportunity to compete with the other drivers and go on the attack.”
Stoffel Vandoorne was forced to retire from the race and speaking following the action he commented saying:
“When it comes to my starting position today, I have only myself to blame. It was my mistake. I collided with the wall and then had a puncture as a result. The contact wasn’t all that hard to be honest; it was a normal brush, but it was enough to break the rim and cause a puncture. It was a shame, especially with me being in qualifying group 2. I think the lap was coming along pretty nicely, and there was definitely potential for me to reach the super pole session. Starting from P21 just makes the whole E-Prix a lot more difficult. During the race itself, I think I was lacking maybe a little bit of pace, although we were up on energy compared to the others. Our strategy from the back was to save a lot from the beginning and then try to come through the field. We made some progress, and then I got stuck in a bit of a train. There was some bunching up, and we got another puncture there with the front left. That was basically the story of our day: two punctures which were very costly for the end result. Pretty much a day to forget for us. I’m happy we can get another chance tomorrow.”
Mercedes EQ Team Principal Ian James said:
It’s great being in New York for two rounds of this championship. New York embodies everything you would expect from a host city to a Formula E event.
Today, however, has been a massively disappointing day for the whole team. We had a solid start to the weekend, showing good pace in the practice sessions. However, we put ourselves on the back foot through our qualifying performance, ultimately starting in P18 and P21. From there on you know it is going to be difficult to recover and score those – especially after the last couple of races – sought-after points.
Early damage for Nyck meant his race was compromised from the off, hampering his ability to fight his way to the front of the field. For Stoffel, a similar scenario played out when he made contact and had to retire from the race with a puncture.
All of this is particularly painful as we are starting to lose ground in both the teams’ and drivers’ championship. We came to New York as the leaders in the teams’ standings – albeit with a tiny gap to our competitors. But, after having finished the first race here, we find ourselves in fourth position in the standings. It is another race in which we haven’t been able to optimise our performance; this is not meeting our expectations.
We will need to set it right tomorrow as it’s still all to play for. I’m glad we get a shot at it again in a second race here in NYC