Porsche (still) on top after strong race pace from Felix da Costa at Formula E debut in Portland
Antonio Felix da Costa claimed the next podium for Porsche at the Portland E-Prix last Saturday thanks to his usual strong race pace. As a result, he kept his employer in first place in the teams' World Championship of Formula E. Pascal Wehrlein, on the other hand, disappointed in the USA - also due to several incidents - and lost the top spot in the drivers' standings.
It was already obvious in the free practice sessions that Porsche's pace on one lap would not be enough for the qualifying places at the front. Nevertheless, Felix da Costa put himself in a solid starting position with 7th on the grid. From the start, he oriented himself forward, thanks in part to his efficient drive, and took the lead for the first time on lap 22, although this was of limited significance in the chaotic "musical chairs" game in Portland. In the closing stages, he battled with Nick Cassidy (Envision) and Jake Dennis (Andretti) for the win.
On lap 32, the Portuguese was still second. But because - unlike Cassidy and Dennis - he couldn't pick up speed in the final laps, he had to let the Brit past shortly before the end. "We fought hard, but maybe took the lead a little too early. That made it a bit tight with the energy at the end," Felix da Costa explained.
In the end, he crossed the finish line in third place - his third trophy of the season. "I'm very happy with the podium. It was a good race with a good result. But we understood what we need to do better in the last four races of the season. We will continue to give everything to secure the title for Pascal and the team." Just before the race, Felix da Costa had pledged full support for his teammate in the world championship battle.
Wehrlein loses ground: "A very strange race"
Wehrlein himself could contribute little to the title mission. In qualifying, he had only finished second to last in his group and started the E-Prix from 18th place. In the race, he moved up ten positions. According to his own statement, even a top 5 result would have been possible - had it not been for three incidents, including one with Max Günther.
But four points for 8th place are not enough in the race for the championship, because his direct competitors - Nick Cassidy and Jake Dennis - finished first and second and were thus able to pull away in the overall standings.
"If you're so far away in qualifying, it's going to be difficult in the race," Wehrlein explained. Looking back, the German speaks of a "very strange race": "So chaotic with so many cars next to each other - we've never had that this season. Especially in the second half of the race, everything was very tight, and I kept losing places."
After the Portland E-Prix, Wehrlein is not first or second for the first time this season, but only third overall. He is 16 points behind leader Dennis with four races to go. Everything is still possible for the Porsche driver, but he has to deliver in Rome and London. "We'll have to see that we make up the gap in Rome that we have caught in the drivers' standings," team principle Florian Modlinger also increases the pressure on Wehrlein.
In the Formula E teams' standings, Porsche still managed to hold on to first place thanks to Portland's total of 19 points. However, main rival Envision made up 16 points, leaving it just six behind Porsche. Next up for Formula E is the "double-header" in Rome, which is on the schedule for July 15 and 16.