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2019 Formula E: Mahindra's Pascal Wehrlein Bags Podium In Santiago e-Prix; Sam Bird Takes First Win Of The Season

Mahindra Racing's Pascal Wehrlein finished the 2019 Formula E Santiago e-Prix in second place, securing his maiden Formula E podium and the team's third consecutive one of the season.

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The Mahindra driver finished behind DS Virgin Racing's Sam Bird who took his first win of the season.

Championship took place in Santiago, Chile and was packed with all the action and electrifying excitement that the series is now known for. With temperatures reaching 46 degrees, it was another at the podium for Mahindra Racing as driver Pascal Wehrlein took his maiden podium finish in Formula E finishing second in the Santiago e-Prix. The Mahindra driver finished behind DS Virgin Racing's Sam Bird who took his first win of the season. Team Abt's Daniel Abt took the third spot on the podium as longtime leader Sebastien Buemi crashed out under pressure. The Santiago e-Prix was Wehrlein's second ever outing in Formula E after failing to finish in the previous race. This also marks Mahindra Racing's third consecutive podium finish of the season.

Wehrlein showed strong performance right from the practice schedule setting the second fastest time in first practice and fifth fastest in second practice. A quick lap in his first Super Pole saw him qualify second on the grid, starting in the front row alongside Buemi. The race started with Buemi in the lead followed by Wehrlein, Abt, and Bird. The top four soon edged away from the rest of the drivers with Buemi activating his attack mode for the first time on lap 6 in the 36-lap race. With Wehrlein hot on his tail, the extra 25 kW thanks to the attack mode helped Buemi shoot further over the top four contenders. 

Further down, Bird too opted for an early attack mode and passed Wehrlein to take second place on Lap 11.  The top three positions remained unchanged from hereon with Buemi in the lead, Bird second and Wehrlein third. Abt lost ground as the race progressed but was holding on to a distant fourth. However, Buemi could not negotiate the pressure from Bird as he locked up on Lap 22 through turn 7 and hit the wall on the outside. The crash immediately put Bird in the lead and promoted Wehrlein to second. The Mahindra driver was close on Bird's tail for the rest of the race. The driver even took his second attack mode in the final stages and closed in on Bird with the extra power but had to push back after being warned about managing his battery temperatures. Wehrlein settled for second, 6.4 seconds behind the race leader, securing 18 championship points, his first of the season.

Speaking on his first-ever podium finish in Formula E, Pascal Wehrlein said, "What a great start for me in Formula E. The potential was already there at the last race but, unfortunately, I couldn't show it. This time there was even the potential for a win; it's just unfortunate we had some issues at the end which meant I had to slow down a lot. My emotions were mixed directly at the end of the race as I thought we could have taken the win and I wanted that win very badly but, with some time to reflect, I'm really happy and I'm delighted for everyone in the team. The whole team is doing a fantastic job, the car is feeling great and these first races show how competitive we are."

Daniel Abt finished third but not before a lot of drama in the order. Alexander Sims of Andretti Autosport finished third originally starting from 8th, but was handed a drive-through penalty for tapping Edoardo Mortara of Venturi. Sims dropped to P7 in the final order with Abt promoted to third. Mortara recovered to finish fifth followed by Virgin Racing's Robin Frigns in sixth place. Mitch Evans of Jaguar finished in sixth place ahead of Sims. 

Fresh off his win at Marrakesh, Mahindra's Jerome d'Ambrosio had a hard week at Santiago. The driver started in tenth row in 20th place, but climbed the order to finish eighth. However, Jerome was handed a five-second penalty alongside Jules Eric Vergne for FCY speeding, pushing his standings to P10 for Santiago e-Prix, behind Oliver Turvey of NIO and Jose Maria Lopez of Dragon Racing. 

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As a result, Sam Bird now leads the driver standings in the championship with d'Ambrosio down to second by 2 points. Pascal has opened on to ninth place in overall rankings. In the team standings, Mahindra remains second. The fourth round of the 2018/19 Formula E Championship will take place on February 16 at the Autodromo Hernandez Rodriguez in Mexico City.

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