27th June 2015, London UK. It was a disappointing start to the London Visa ePrix race weekend in Battersea Park this afternoon for Mahindra Racing following the conclusion of the first of two races around the historic venue. Despite having qualified strongly in seventh for the race, Bruno Senna was handed a drive through penalty in the closing laps which left him at the back of the grid. Karun Chandhok’s race was one of following behind his competitors; the extremely narrow track allowing few opportunities to overtake.
The inaugural London ePrix drew incredible crowds as fans flocked to see their favourite race drivers as they zoomed around the historic Battersea Park.
When the drivers had their first real taste of the circuit this morning they used the opportunity to learn the track. However the circuit was to change in time for the second free practice session after the bump at the first corner was deemed too dangerous following multiple car launches.
As a result the session was delayed somewhat while the corner was altered.
Qualifying later in the day saw Senna line up in the second group while Chandhok was in the third to take to the track.
Senna’s lap was strong enough to provide him with a great start from seventh place, however the barriers were less kind to Chandhok who on his fastest lap tapped the edges of the tight and tricky track – leaving him unable to improve.
The alterations to the circuit meant that the 29 lap race was to begin under the safety car. When the track went green the London Visa ePrix was well and truly underway. The first few laps occurred with few incidents as the circuit proved difficult to overtake on.
As the race continued, complete with one safety car period, and the pit stop window opened both drivers came in for a smooth and quick pit stop before re-joining the circuit. By this point in the race Senna was in seventh and Chandhok in 15th.
The race was uneventful around the tight circuit until a drive through penalty for pit lane over-speeding was handed to Senna; effectively ruining his race.
As a result the Brazilian finished in 17th while Chandhok was in 13th.
Chandhok said, Chandhok said, ‘The track here at Battersea Park was so narrow which meant that overtaking was next to impossible and qualifying was even more critical than with other rounds. Unfortunately I was struggling with the brakes in qualifying and we didn’t get the best position to start the race so it was pretty much decided from there. Tomorrow will also be difficult however we will be pushing for a stronger qualifying position for the season finale.’
Senna said, ‘In the first few laps I was trying to keep the strategy working well and as a result everything was going to plan in our opening stint. We enjoyed a really good pit stop when we came in and came out in a strong position. However I was handed a drive through for speeding in the pit lane; we don’t know how it happened and we need to analyse this. But we have a good base line from today as we head in to the final race of the season tomorrow.’
Team Principal Dilbagh Gil said, ‘Things went smoothly earlier today we were looking really good on our race pace – Bruno was the second quickest on track. We need to understand the reason for our penalty with Bruno which we will analyse with the data. However the pace of both cars was good and we look forward to doing more with this tomorrow.’