Formula E

Turbulent racing in the USA: The driver ratings for the Portland E-Prix 2023

Tobias Bluhm

Tobias Bluhm


In an eventful, highly tactical race in Portland, Nick Cassidy (Envision) had the best strategy: The New Zealander crossed the finish line in first place despite only being able to start the E-Prix from tenth on the grid. An energy-saving strategy and clever positioning on the track earned him the victory. But how should his performance be rated compared to the other drivers? Our driver ratings.

After each round of the 2023 Formula E season, our editors award points on a scale between 1 and 10 for all drivers. They are then sorted according to their average score, and the best ten performances are commented on by our Formula E reporter Tobias Bluhm. Only the individual driving performances are included in the rating, taking the potential of the car or external circumstances out of the equation.

The driver ratings for the Portland E-Prix 2023

1 | Jake Dennis | Avalanche Andretti | 9.7 points

For the first time this season, a driver who didn't win the race is at the top of the driver ratings. Because even though it wasn't enough to win his team's home race, Jake Dennis presented himself once again in masterful form. In qualifying, he was able to secure pole position, having previously caught the eye with good times in free practice.

Ironically, Dennis starting from pole, of all things, could be the reason he missed out on victory. Dennis led the first laps of the E-Prix and only gave way to his rivals from lap 4. As a result of the lead work, he had to drop back to 6th place for some time to save energy before securing second place in the final sprint. Late attacks on Cassidy failed, but the 18 points associated with second position should certainly help his World Championship ambitions!

BOTTOM LINE: Dennis drove a flawless race, but ultimately missed out on victory due to having lead too much early in the race. Regardless, he remains on course for the title!

2 | Nick Cassidy | Envision Racing | 9.0 points

The New Zealander has been almost unstoppable in the last couple of weeks: a win in Berlin, a win in Monaco and now a win in Portland will have him dreaming of the Formula E title. In this season alone, he collected more points (153) than in his two previous electric years combined (cumulative: 144)! That's a testament to how well the kiwi is doing this year.

In Portland, he had the best tactics of any driver. Starting from 10th on the grid, he sliced through the field within a few laps. After just three laps he was already running in the top 4, and after eleven he led a lap for the first time. The safety car periods helped his strategy, which worked out perfectly when he ceded the lead to Antonio Felix da Costa (Porsche) on lap 21 and the latter picked up the pace at the same time.

BOTTOM LINE: The best tactics won Cassidy the race - and at the same time a place on the train that could take him to the championship title.

3 | Antonio Felix da Costa | TAG Heuer Porsche | 8.7 points

It's not entirely fair to call Antonio Felix da Costa a "worse driver in Portland" compared to Dennis and Cassidy based on this driver rating. For his part, the Portuguese driver also drove an excellent race and probably would have had to wait just one lap longer before picking up the pace to win the E-Prix. He also mastered the tactics games, holding back at just the right moments and looking combative at almost all times during the race.

BOTTOM LINE: The podium result, his third of the season, was fully deserved.

4 | Mitch Evans | Jaguar TCS Racing | 7.6 points

Internally, things continue to not look like they'll harmonize at all for Jaguar in 2023. In Portland, Sam Bird seemed to have the better pace than Mitch Evans at times, but the latter would not let his teammate pass. A penalty flushed Bird out of the points anyway, but the race of the "big cats" would probably have been different if the drivers had swapped places.

But enough with the subjunctives: The fact is that Mitch Evans once again drove a very good race. The New Zealander scored his sixth top-four result in the last seven races (the only no-score came as a result of the accident with Bird in Jakarta), set the fastest lap and made up a whopping 16 positions over the course of the E-Prix. A technical problem, which the team said was a power failure in the on-board electronics, had previously made his participation in qualifying impossible.

BOTTOM LINE: A fabulous recovery like this is probably only possible in Portland. But thanks to 4th place, Evans' world championship hopes remain alive!

5 | Maximilian Günther | Maserati MSG | 7.3 points

While not quite as good as in Jakarta, Maximilian Günther was probably better than in the first half of the season in Portland. The German was on course for a podium when he was forced off the track in a racing incident with Sam Bird and dropped to 9th. The stewards quite surprisingly issued a penalty against Bird for that. Günther was helped back to 6th position by the penalty, though: A good result!

BOTTOM LINE: With his points haul in Portland, Günther may well be satisfied. Apparently his assessment was right that Maserati's "knot" burst at the Berlin E-Prix: Since then, it's been going well for them!

6 | Lucas di Grassi | Mahindra Racing | 7.3 points

Already in Free Practice, Lucas di Grassi made notice of himself with good lap times: 10th and 15th place was far better than what fans have been used to from Mahindra Racing this season. In the sometimes chaotic race, the Brazilian was then able to bring all his Formula E experience to bear, as becomes particularly clear when compared to his rookie teammate Roberto Merhi. With 7th place, di Grasasi achieved an excellent result for his racing team!

BOTTOM LINE: The first points since the start of the season in January - congratulations!

7 | Robin Frijns | ABT Cupra | 7.0 points

... But things also went really well in phases for Mahindra's customer team, ABT Cupra, in the USA. Robin Frijns was able to call up similarly good pace as di Grassi in the time trials and qualified in a promising ninth place. In the course of the race he mixed inconspicuously but still always visible in the midfield. In the end, thanks to the Bird penalty, he finished tenth and once again scored world championship points for the German team.

BOTTOM LINE: It's only his second top-10 result of the season, and yet: every points result is like a victory for ABT this year. Outstanding performance.

8 | Sebastien Buemi | Envision Racing | 6.7 points

At Envision Racing, Sebastien Buemi may be playing second fiddle this year, but that shouldn't detract from the good results the Swiss driver continues to achieve. He also scored double-digit points in Portland, closing the gap to the "chasing pack" in the championship. An equally exciting battle is brewing there: Vergne (97), Felix da Costa (93), Günther (78), Buemi (72) and Bird (62) are likely to be among the candidates for a top-5 result in the final standings.

BOTTOM LINE: Another good result from Sebastien Buemi that will hopefully give him momentum for the final stretch of the season.

9 | Sacha Fenestraz | Nissan | 6.7 points

In the individual time trials, Sacha Fenestraz was top-notch - he qualified for the front row of the grid - but in the race, bad luck seemed to follow him wherever he went. In the early stages of the E-Prix, he ran into his teammate Norman Nato, causing damage to Fenestraz's front wing. The pit stop immediately after the end of the first of two safety car periods cost the young Frenchman many positions, which he was barely able to make up by the time he crossed the finish line. In the end, his ninth no-score in twelve races stood at position 15.

BOTTOM LINE: A broken front wing destroyed Fenestraz's weekend full of potential.

10 | Pascal Wehrlein | TAG Heuer Porsche | 6.3 points

This is most likely not what Pascal Wehrlein had in mind. He should have gotten protective support from his teammate in Portland, but Wehrlein's pace wasn't enough to have even a remote chance of a podium result. Instead, the "wrong" Porsche driver was spraying the champagne on the podium: Antonio Felix da Costa was thoroughly superior to his teammate in the U.S..

In particular in the context of the world championship battle, Wehrlein's result will leave a bitter taste. The German not only lost the lead in the drivers' standings, but even slipped to third place. Momentum is also no longer on his side ahead of Rome and London. Wehrlein must now show he has the courage and willpower to go up against Dennis and Cassidy.

BOTTOM LINE: P8 is not good enough with title rivals finishing in the top two. Wehrlein needs a turnaround if he wants to keep fighting for the world championship.

How our editors voted:
Driver Tobias Bluhm Timo Pape Tobias Wirtz Average Score
01. Jake Dennis 10 9 10 9,67
02. Nick Cassidy 10 8 9 9,00
03. Antonio Felix da Costa 9 8 9 8,67
04. Mitch Evans 7 7 9 7,67
05. Maximilian Günther 6 7 9 7,33
06. Lucas di Grassi 7 7 8 7,33
07. Robin Frijns 7 7 7 7,00
08. Sebastien Buemi 6 6 8 6,67
09. Sacha Fenestraz 7 6 7 6,67
10. Pascal Wehrlein 7 5 7 6,33
11. Jean-Eric Vergne 7 5 7 6,33
12. Norman Nato 6 7 6 6,33
13. Sam Bird 7 6 6 6,33
14. Rene Rast 5 6 7 6,00
15. Edoardo Mortara 6 6 6 6,00
16. Stoffel Vandoorne 6 5 6 5,67
17. Dan Ticktum 5 5 6 5,33
18. Sergio Sette Camara 4 6 5 5,00
19. Nico Müller 4 5 6 5,00
20. Jake Hughes 5 5 5 5,00
21. Andre Lotterer 4 5 5 4,67
22. Roberto Merhi 4 4 4 4,00

* Tie-breaker in case of equal average points: higher individual scores in the driver rating. Tie-breaker in case of identical individual scores: better race result.

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