Mahindra Racing made an impressive start to its third season in the Formula E Championship, scoring a podium finish and setting the fastest lap in the inaugural Hong Kong ePrix.
German driver Nick Heidfeld started the 45-lap race from 10th on the grid and took advantage of first lap chaos to jump to fifth.
By managing his available energy, Heidfeld was able to time his mid-race car swap in order to jump to third place, where he finished the race.
Heidfeld was delighted to start the season with a podium and is hopeful the team can sustain their strong form throughout the season.
“I’m very happy to be back on the podium at the opening race of the season. It’s something you don’t expect when you start 10th on the grid!
“I had a great getaway from the start and gained more positions in turn one by going around the outside. There was an issue with the energy and lap data, but good communication with the team enabled me to do everything manually.
We also made a good call on pit strategy during the safety car, and I was able to overtake during the car swap. After that, I was the third position, with Nico Prost catching quickly from behind, but toward the end of the race I was able to pull away which is really promising considering they are one of the strongest contenders,” said Heidfeld.
Swedish rookie Felix Rosenqvist endured a tough beginning to his Formula E career. Having started from an encouraging sixth place on the grid, he was caught out in early race traffic. Then damage to his M3Electro from a high-speed spin sent him to the back of the pack by forcing an early car swap.
“I had a good start, then in turn one there was a big pile up on the inside, and I couldn’t really get out. It felt like I was really competitive during the race, but at one point I risked too much. While I am not 100% up to speed with data and energy management in Formula E, I think what’s really promising is that I can drive efficiently, but also be very quick.
“There’s still more to work on, but the speed is there. Even one race gives me a lot of experience, and if you’re in a tight situation, it’s important to be calm and focus on energy management, then wait for the next opportunity to overtake.
The M3Electro package is strong, and I had been driving well, so the only target, in the end, was to go for the fastest lap. It was tough, and I had a couple of attempts, but in the end I got it. It looks really promising for the rest of the season,” said Rosenqvist.
After the first race of the season, Mahindra Racing sit in fourth place in the constructor’s championship with 16 points.