Jaguar power comes to the fore
The lead quartet through most of the action was made up by DS Penske’s Vandoorne, Evans, Cassidy and Porsche’s António Félix da Costa, who scored a brilliant win last time out on the streets of Cape Town. Porsche has been the pacesetter this year, its powertrain having won four of the previous five rounds. But as the race in Sao Paulo evolved, it was clear that Jaguar had the edge on the fast 1.82-mile circuit that encouraged decent racing (which hasn’t always been the case in the past on Formula E’s tight city street circuits).
After the second and final safety car interruption, it was still anyone’s race. But then da Costa outbraked himself at Turn One, overshot, came to a complete halt (as was mandatory in such circumstances) and knew his shot at victory was effectively blown. Meanwhile, Vandoorne’s challenge also faded as Bird came into contention, having saved crucial energy from his starting position of only tenth – the result of a five-place grid penalty for the embarrassing collision with his team-mate in India (he didn’t start at all in Cape Town, after crashing in practice). Cassidy and Evans had opened a 2.5-second gap once Bird had passed Vandoorne for third, but the second Jaguar quickly caught the leading pair to make it a three-way fight to the flag.
Evans made his decisive move on Cassidy with a beautifully executed pass into Turn One three laps from home, then put up his defences as the Envision driver came right back at him. On the last lap Cassidy edged along wheel to wheel, but Evans had the inside line for the next turn and just clung on, as Bird couldn’t quite use his energy advantage to progress further.
“This has come at the perfect time,” said Evans. “We had a tough start [to the year] but the car has been quick, so to finally get the victory and some points is incredible. A Jaguar 1-2-3. Nick pushed me all the way – we pushed each other – and both teams executed brilliantly. I wouldn't have wanted it much closer than that.”