13 APRIL 2019, ROME, ITALY – For the second year, the centre of Rome played host to the seventh round of the 2018/19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship. After another dramatic season 5 Formula E race, Mahindra Racing’s Jérôme D’Ambrosio came back from a challenging qualifying session to gain 11 places in the race to finish eighth, collecting four championship points and regaining the lead of the driver’s championship. Pascal Wehrlein also added to his points tally, crossing the line in tenth.

Disadvantaged by qualifying in group one on a cold track, Jérôme struggled for grip in the final sector of his qualifying lap and, with lap times falling as the track warmed up and gained grip, he was forced to start from the tenth row of the grid from 19th. Pascal set his qualifying lap in group 2 and qualified in tenth position, but was handed a post-session grid penalty for speeding under a red flag and began the race from 14th.

On the extremely tight Rome E-Prix circuit, which was damp from a downpour ahead of the start of the race, both Mahindra Racing drivers had a clean start, with Pascal and Jérôme in 15th and 18th respectively by the end of the first lap. However, an ensuing incident involving Jose Mario Lopez, Jean Eric Vergne and Gary Paffett blocked the track and brought out the red flag.

After a lengthy 45-minute red flag period, Pascal and Jérôme restarted the race in 15th and 17th and set about working their way up the order in the remaining 40 minutes of the race. With ten minutes to go, Jérôme was in a points-scoring tenth place, with Pascal just outside the points in 12th. With two minutes remaining, Pascal was able to move up into 11th place and then, with Jean Eric Vergne handed a drive through penalty and Jérôme gaining a late position, Jérôme and Pascal were classified in the points in eighth and tenth.

We stay in Europe for the next round of the championship, which will take place in two weeks’ time in the heart of Paris on Saturday 27 April.

“It’s been a challenging day but it’s good to be leading again! It’s super tight and competitive out there but, at the moment, with us always having to qualify in group 1, we are at a disadvantage. This means when we should be fighting for a podium with the pace we have, instead we’re fighting for a few points. I think we had a good strategy but you find yourself racing with guys that shouldn’t be at the front because of the qualifying format. For the fans its entertaining, but it’s sometimes frustrating for us this season. We have to take the positives that we kept it clean and scored again and we have to keep extracting the maximum out of every weekend.”

Jérôme D'Ambrosio

“For me it was a neutral race. We changed our set-up a bit for today which helped in the race and our pace was a lot better than in qualifying. I’m not really sure why qualifying didn’t go so well; I wasn’t really happy with the balance and then we got the grid penalty, which didn’t help. We know we can be fighting at the top and winning races.”

Pascal Wehrlein

“Overall it was a decent day. Unfortunately we started at the back because of the format of the qualifying groups; it was through no fault of our own and was luck of the draw. What we did do was make the maximum amount of overtakes today as a team to keep progressing forward and finishing with both cars in the points. In a chaotic race, we kept our nose clean and kept moving forward. I’m happy that we are leading the driver’s championship again and fighting at the top of the team’s championship.”

Dilbagh Gill