The opening round of the New York E-Prix gave a spectacle, with a result that was decided in the final minutes. A race that ended with the success of Maximilian Gunther and BMW Andretti, but which had a great defeat in Nick Cassidy.
The New Zealander of Envision Virgin Racing had hit his second pole of the season and in the first phase of the race he had also managed to perfectly manage the leadership. With the approach of the checkered flag, however, the opponents behind him began to approach (facilitated by a Full Course Yellow), led by Jean-Eric Vergne.
The key moment came when there were 7 of the 45 minutes + 1 lap foreseen by the regulation: Cassidy left the door open at the corner of turn 10 and the two-time DS champion Techeetah did not miss the opportunity to slip inside. There was also a slight contact between the two and behind them was Gunther ready to take advantage of it, who in one fell swoop jumped from third to first position.
The German then found himself in the lead, followed by Vergne and di Grassi, who in turn took advantage of Cassidy’s hesitation, who in the space of a few moments then fell off the podium. A punishment perhaps too great for him, who deserved to finish at least in the top 3.
Once in the lead, Gunther instead was perfect in administering the leadership and flying towards his first win of the season, the third in his career, followed by a Vergne who with this second place strongly relaunches himself in the title race and a di Grassi able to recover from seventh place on the grid with his Audi.
The championship standings shortened a lot thanks to Edoardo Mortara’s bad day: the Venturi driver started last for having inadvertently disabled the “full power” function in qualifying. In the race he recovered up to the 14th position, but in this way he did not recover even a point.
In addition to Vergne, Robin Frijns was also good at taking advantage of the opportunity, putting a good patch on a disappointing qualifying, climbing from 11th place on the grid to the fifth final. In this way he reached Mortara at an altitude of 72, although Virgin did not play strategy games, also giving him the position of companion Cassidy. René Rast also nibbled a few spots as he climbed up from the bottom of the grid to tenth place.
After what they had shown in the tests, it was reasonable to expect a little more from the Nissan e.dams, which launched a new package regarding gearbox, powertrain and inverter. Sebastien Buemi and Oliver Rowland had to settle for sixth and seventh places, however, with the Briton who also ran into a penalty.
In the top 10 there was also space for Andre Lotterer and Sam Bird. Of particular note is the performance of the Jaguar driver, who recovered from 20th place on the grid after missing Free Practice 2 following a rather violent accident at Turn 14 in Free Practice 1, which forced the team to replace his chassis.
The opposite was true for Alex Lynn, who found himself out of the points after starting from third position. The Mahindra driver went long in the first braking position, losing several positions, then touched twice with Pascal Wehrlein’s Porsche, with the latter eventually being forced to surrender. The reigning champion Antonio Felix da Costa was also bad, only 12th with the DS Techeetah, ahead of Nyck de Vries’ Mercedes.