Watch: Maximilian Günther wins

Image via @maxg_official

Watch: Maximilian Günther wins the Santiago ePrix

Maximilian Günther became Formula E’s youngest winner as he survived the heat at the Santiago ePrix to beat Antonio Felix da Costa in a thrilling late race battle.

Watch: Maximilian Günther wins

Image via @maxg_official

Maximilian Günther took on the experienced Antonio Felix da Costa in a late race wheel-to-wheel battle to win the 2020 Santiago ePrix.

On a scorching hot Saturday in Chile, the 22-year-old BMW i Andretti Motorsport came from second on the grid to win his maiden Formula E race.

Günther wins in Chile

Taking to a scorching hot Parque O’Higgins street circuit on Saturday 18 January, Mitch Evans bagged his second Formula E pole position.

In a qualifying session that claimed several scalps, including crashes for Lucas di Grassi and Oliver Rowland, Evans set the pace ahead of Günther, Pascal Wehrlein and Felipe Massa. Series leader after Saudi Arabia’s double-header, Alexander Sims, was P15 on the grid.

The race, 45 minutes plus one lap, started well for pole-sitter Evans, who led the early laps ahead of Wehrlein. It didn’t start at all well for Sims, who brought out a full-course yellow when his BMW ground to a halt.

There was more drama as Rowland made contact with Sam Bird, breaking the Envision Virgin Racing driver’s front wing which led to a spin. Massa and his Venturi team-mate Edoardo Mortara also collided.

Back at the front, Günther had re-passed Wehrlein to run second behind Evans before taking the lead off him at Turn 9. Da Costa worked his way up to second, first passing Wehrlein, then Jean-Eric Vergne, the latter of which had a tyre rub that led to his wing breaking off, and finally Evans.

With three minutes on the clock, Da Costa gave Günther a whack to push his way through into the lead. However, it was not to be as he was forced to back off due to power, giving Günther the opportunity to pass at Turn 9 and race to the victory.

It was his first in Formula E with the 22-year-old German the series’ youngest winner.

Pole-sitter Evans brought his car home in third place ahead of Wehrlein and the Mercedes team-mates, Nyck de Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne.

Vandoorne leads the championship by three points ahead of Sims with Sam Bird third on 28.

It was ‘now or never’ for Günther

Günther acknowledges it was in part a fortuitous victory given his battery power on the final lap compared to Da Costa’s.

Having lost the lead to the DS TECHEETAH driver on the penultimate lap, Günther noticed that Da Costa had to back off a bit on the power in order to make it to the finish line.

He made his move, and he made it stick.

“Today is a dream come true,” said the 22-year-old. “For all of us it was about managing the race in hot conditions and it was a straight fight for the win.

“Having not made a great start on the dirty side of the track, which cost me a position, we used the attack modes very cleverly. That allowed me to take the lead.

“In that heat, it was also important to keep an eye on the temperature of the batteries. We did that really well.

“On the final lap, Antonio had to coast a little earlier than me on the straight. I thought to myself ‘now or never’ and went for the overtake. Fortunately, it came off.”

Da Costa, who during the season break left BMW Andretti to join DS TECHEETAH was critical of his new team, saying miscommunication about the battery temperature cost him the win.

“So much has happened during the race,” he said. “It’s a bit of an awkward situation losing the win to BMW i Andretti but congratulations to Max.

“A lot of positives to take away but I lost out on the start as I got a massive hit from Sims and my steering was never straight for the rest of the race. However, we have speed in the car and that made all the difference.

“I lost a lot of time behind JEV and fed some of the wrong information on temperatures and it all came down to the last lap and these guys just managed it better.”

Santiago ePrix result

1 Max Guenther – BMW – 46m11.511s
2 Antonio Felix da Costa – DS Techeetah – 2.067s
3 Mitch Evans – Jaguar – 5.119s
4 Pascal Wehrlein – Mahindra – 7.050s
5 Nyck de Vries – Mercedes – 9.883s
6 Stoffel Vandoorne – Mercedes – 11.237s
7 Lucas di Grassi – Audi – 14.437s
8 James Calado – Jaguar – 18.255s
9 Felipe Massa – Venturi – 20.430s
10 Sam Bird – Virgin – 21.780s
11 Oliver Turvey – NIO – 27.778s
12 Nico Muller – Dragon – 33.786s
13 Sebastien Buemi – e.dams – 43.257s
14 Daniel Abt – Audi – 47.198s
15 Robin Frijns – Virgin – 1 Lap
16 Ma Qinghua – NIO – 1 Lap
17 Oliver Rowland – e.dams – 4 Laps
Jerome d’Ambrosio – Mahindra – Not classified
Brendon Hartley – Dragon – Retirement
Jean-Eric Vergne – DS Techeetah – Retirement
Edoardo Mortara – Venturi – Retirement
Andre Lotterer – Porsche – Retirement
Alexander Sims – BMW – Retirement
Neel Jani – Porsche – Retirement