Unfortunately, the fourth round of the season brought no joy for the Mercedes-Benz EQ duo of Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries. On the newcomer team’s first outing in Mexico, neither of its two drivers would ultimately see the chequered flag. It was the first occasion in the debut season of the team that Mercedes-Benz EQ leaves an E-Prix empty-handed. It was nonetheless a day, which the team is determined to learn from.
Up until the point at which he had to park his car, Stoffel had battled his way forward through the field, gaining five positions and looking set for his fourth points finish of the season. Shortly before the end of the race however, he collided with the wall while trying to defend P5 and was forced to retire.
At the start of the race, Vandoorne’s team-mate Nyck de Vries temporarily moved up into second. Following an early safety car deployment, he was still comfortably placed in the Top Five. Nyck then found himself under pressure from António Félix da Costa (DS Techeetah) in a battle for fifth place, which resulted in a collision with Robin Frijns (Envision Virgin Racing). This incident ended with Nyck stranded at the side of the track.
Nyck was assigned to Qualifying Group 2, in which he posted the second-fastest lap. It was the second time in his rookie season that he has made it into the Top Six super pole, initially occupying P4 on the grid but subsequently moving up to third place as a result of a penalty incurred by Pascal Wehrlein.
Stoffel clocked the second-fastest time in the first of the four qualifying groups, despite the track having not quite bedded in, but it was not enough to get him into the Top Six and he had to start from P10.
In Mexico City, as in the first three races of the campaign, Stoffel and Nyck benefited from Fanboost (Stoffel: 20%; Nyck: 8%). Stoffel came out on top in the fan rating for the fourth consecutive time.
After Mexico, the next stop for the team is Morocco, which is due to host the fifth round of the 2019/20 season, the 2020 Marrakech E-Prix, on 29 February.
Comments after the race in Mexico-City
Ian James (Team Principal):
“Emotions are still raw, even after the race has ended. Unfortunately, we leave Mexico with no points. Both drivers had incidents which took them out of the race.”
“It is what we can call a character-building experience for the whole team, which otherwise delivered a strong performance over the weekend. We now need to regroup and make sure we get our heads down for the next event.”
“After this race, I’m obviously very disappointed. We’ve missed out on a lot of points today. I was in fifth place when I had a tiny little moment off the line in Turn 3. After that, I had no chance of avoiding the wall. I feel incredibly sorry for the team, as we should have finished in the points on a day like this. But we’re not giving up and we’ll come back stronger in Marrakech.”
Nyck de Vries:
“Unfortunately, my race today ended in the wall. After it was over, I went to see the stewards about the incident. As far as I’m concerned, it was clearly a technical issue that meant I was effectively a passenger in the car. I obviously still want to apologise for what happened out there, but the fact is that I was unable to stop the car. Anyway, my focus is now on the next race in Marrakech.”